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Glenville State College Alumni Participate in Local Theatre Group

BUCKHANNON, WV – Several Glenville State College alumni were recently in Buckhannon, West Virginia for a performance of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music. The performance was produced by the Buckhannon Community Theatre (BCT) and was held at the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts at WV Wesleyan College.

GSC Alumni in local theatre performance

(L-R) Dennis Wemm, Jeremiah Smallridge, Susie Henline, Doug Seckman, Lee Barbo, Charles Simms, Joni Cutlip (crouching), Michele Hull-Simms, and Samantha Wolford after the Buckhannon Community Theatre performance of The Sound of Music.

The play was directed and choreographed by Jeremiah Smallridge who graduated from GSC in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in music education. He has since completed another degree from WV Wesleyan in vocal performance and is working on a Master of Music Education from the Shenandoah Conservatory. He is currently teaching music at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School. Smallridge has worked with the Buckhannon Community Theatre for 11 years. The Sound of Music makes the second show that he has directed for BCT. “Working with other people from Glenville is great; they’re like family,” said Smallridge.

Glenville State College Professor of Communication Dennis Wemm managed the set and lighting design. Wemm has been involved with theatre in many forms for nearly 40 years. He is tenured at GSC and has taught communications and managed theatre there for 25 years.

Wanda (Lee) Barbo played the role of Frau Schmidt and also provided scenic support. She graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (K-6) and multi-categorical education (K-adult). Lee teaches special education at Lewis County High School. Accompanying her was her husband Keith who graduated from GSC in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science. He also earned a bachelor of arts degree in history with a concentration in world studies in 2002. He provided scenic help. Rounding out the family affair was Austin, the Barbo’s youngest son, who played Rolf Gruber for the Friday and Sunday performances.

Doug Seckman played Franz, the von Trapp family butler. Seckman graduated from Glenville State College in 2005 with a bachelor of arts degree in English literature with a minor in music. He also earned a bachelor of arts education degree in English (5-Adult) in 2008. He currently teaches English at Lewis County High School and is the president of the Lewis County Theater Group. This marks his third season with the BCT.

Joni Cutlip provided scenic support and was also a singer. She graduated from GSC in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in oral communications.

Charles Simms and Michele Hull-Simms assisted with scenes and scene painting, including the faux stained glass windows that adorned Nonnberg Abbey. Charles is a coach in Lewis County and Michele teaches art at Braxton County High School. Charles graduated in 1986 with a bachelor of arts degree in physical education (K-12) and safety education (7-12). Michele also graduated in 1986 with a bachelor of arts degree in education art comprehensive (K-12). Their daughter, Mary, played Louisa von Trapp.

Buckhannon native Samantha Wolford served as the stage manager and also played other roles. The upcoming sophomore has participated in some of Glenville State College’s theatre performances before but this was her first time acting with the BCT. “It was exciting to work with people I knew from Glenville and then meet new people who had also went to Glenville,” said Wolford. She is studying mathematics education (5-adult).

The performance ran for three days, Thursday, July 14 – Saturday, July 16, and had a matinee on Sunday, July 17. The Sunday show sold out and the other shows were nearly as crowded.

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