Gogue Center Performance Study Guide: "Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume"

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Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume

The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center

at Auburn University engages audiences across the university, the state of Alabama and beyond with curated arts experiences that inspire, enlighten and unite.

Our annual K–12 School Performance Series provides opportunities for schoolchildren to enjoy exclusive performances by some of the most talented and accomplished artists from around the world. Prior to each K-12 school performance, teachers receive a learning guide containing details about the performance, artist and company, supplemental information about the art form and its history, and grade-appropriate activities designed to spark conversation and exploration in the classroom.

To learn more about education and community engagement initiatives at the Gogue Center, visit goguecenter.auburn.edu/education

produced and provided by

The Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University

910 South College Street Auburn, Alabama 36849

developed in cooperation with

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Performance guide by Mary Rand Hess

Costume renderings by Erik Teague

Cover illustration by Tim Bowers

Made possible in part by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts

k–12 school performance series contact Andrea Jarmon, D.M.A.

Education Coordinator

telephone: 334.844.7371

email: gpac_education@auburn.edu



Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume

what to expect

Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume is an hour-long musical featuring many different styles and genres of music.

The musical's main character is Indigo Blume. She and her friends are planning a festival and have worked hard to clean up their community. The night before the festival, Indigo falls asleep and has a fantastical dream.

Many actors in the musical play multiple characters. All of the animal characters featured in the story are played by people. To embody the different characters, the actors change their costumes, voices and movements.

Many of the characters are based on actual musicians. Each character's name and the style of music they present help connect them to their real-life counterpart. (For example, Dairy Parton, a cow, is a playful representation of country music legend Dolly Parton.)

The performance can be loud at times. Before Indigo falls asleep, there is a thunderstorm and the sound of thunder rolls throughout the theater. And when Indigo meets her new friends at the farm, a “hurri-train” hits. The hurritrain makes many loud sounds like a storm and frightens Indigo and her friends.

The characters sometimes have strong feelings. They communicate their emotions through the way they talk and sing, and by what they do. When Indigo thinks about singing at the festival, she gets nervous and starts to panic and shout.

about the author

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, producer and number-one New York Times bestselling author of 37 books, including An American Story, The Door of No Return, Becoming Muhammad Ali (co-authored with James Patterson), Rebound, which was shortlisted for the prestigious UK Carnegie Medal, and The Undefeated, the National Book Award nominee, Newbery Honor and Caldecott Medal-winning picture book illustrated by Kadir Nelson. A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. In January 2023, a Kennedy Center-commissioned national tour for young audiences began for Alexander’s musical Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume, which is based on two of his beloved children’s books: Acoustic Rooster and Indigo Blume. He is the writer and executive producer of The Crossover television series, based on his Newbery Medal-winning novel of the same name, which premieres on Disney Channel and Disney+ in April 2023.

For a preview of Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume, visit aub.ie/acoustic-rooster.


Meet Indigo's Barnyard Boogie pals

Mules Davis (Miles Davis)

not fear mistakes. There

The character Mules Davis was created because of the famous jazz trumpeter, flugelhorn player, composer and bandleader, Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926–September 28, 1991). When Miles was 13, his father introduced him to the trumpet. He began to take lessons and was soon hooked on practicing, learning everything he could about this instrument. He started playing professionally in high school, and by age 17 was invited to perform on stage with jazz artists Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He enrolled in The Juilliard School (once known as the Institute of Musical Art), but eventually dropped out to pursue his jazz career full-time. Miles ended up becoming one of the most celebrated jazz artists of the twentieth century, releasing dozens and dozens of albums. He was always willing to grow and change with the times, and his innovative and improvisational musical style ensured that he would be remembered as a jazz G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time). His music is still played and celebrated by countless listeners today. (You can your students can check out his album Kind of Blue, the most popular and bestselling jazz album of all time, to get a feel for how cool Miles Davis’ music was and still is … even today!)

Duck Ellington (Duke Ellington)

Duck Ellington is the lovable, quirky animal version of the great Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899–May 24, 1974), an American pianist, big-band leader, composer and arranger. Duke was born in Washington, D.C., and raised by musically gifted parents. By age 7, he was taking piano lessons. It was during this time that he landed the nickname Duke because of his polished manners. He composed his first song at 15 and started playing music professionally by age 17. Many of his songs have become American standards, like “I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good,” “Take the A Train” and “In A Sentimental Mood.” He performed in Broadway nightclubs, toured in Europe and made hundreds of song recordings with his bands. The originator of big-band jazz, he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for music in 1999 and is considered one of the greatest musicians in the history of jazz—another G.O.A.T.

are none.”
“A problem is a chance to do your best.”
The characters in Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume are inspired by real-life musicians.

Dairy Parton (Dolly Parton)

Dairy Parton is a “hats off” to country music legend and actress Dolly Parton (born January 19, 1946). She is known for her number-one country hits like “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You” and “9 to 5.” She is also famous for her sparkly boots and clothes, her love of books (having founded Imagination Library), and her amusement park called Dollywood. Dolly grew up one of twelve children in rural Appalachia, where she learned how to sing and play the guitar from her mom and other family members. She started performing at church at a young age, and not too long after she received her first guitar from a relative, she began composing her own tunes. By age 10, she was performing on television and radio shows. She even debuted at the Grand Ole Opry at just 13. Once she graduated high school, she moved to Nashville to chase her dream of becoming a country music star. She has since won many awards and written thousands of songs, even for other recording artists. She continues to make country music history by creating albums and singing her songs before millions of fans.

Chickee Minaj (Nicki

Chickee Minaj is the vibrant and confident character based on the strong and proud Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty, a.k.a. Nicki Minaj (born December 8, 1982). Nicki is a Trinidadian-born singer, songwriter and actress known for her bold lyrics and rapid-fire rap style. When she was around age 5, she and her family moved from Trinidad to Queens, New York, where she started writing her first rap songs. As she embarked on her music career, she worked as a backup singer at first, but ended up taking center stage. All her hard work and talent paid off, as she has won eight American Music Awards, 12 BET Awards, seven BET Hip Hop Awards the list goes on. She has been called the Queen of Rap and it looks like she might hold on to that title.

“Find out who you are. And do it on purpose.”
“Your victory is right around the corner. Never give up.”

Acoustic Rooster


Acoustic Rooster uses his voice and acoustic guitar to share his music. His character is inspired by a mix of gifted musicians, just like all the musical genres he performs onstage with his band. His talent, confidence, leadership, and showmanship fall somewhere between American bassist Jaco Pastorius and American jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. If Acoustic Rooster gave you some advice, it would be to practice whatever you love to do and believe in yourself.

Indigo Blume

Indigo Blume is based on brave young people like you who want to accomplish amazing things on this earth, like keeping your community clean and green, growing a rooftop garden of dreams, or sharing your musical and artistic talents with family and friends. Remember, you are a star wherever you decide to shine in this world!

is good, but believing in yourself ... waaaaay better.”
The music in this musical is meant to make you snap your fingers, sing along, smile from ear to ear, and throw your hands in the air and wave'em like you just don't care. This is a get up and dance show, people!”
Randy Preston Composer, Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume
“When we’re together, there’s nothing that we can’t do.”

Making music, making magic

Here are a few of the musical instruments your students will see and hear during the performance.

Acoustic Rooster loves to rock out on his acoustic guitar!

The acoustic guitar is a popular instrument in the string family, made up of six steel strings and a hollow wooden body. The vibrations of the strings are amplified through the guitar’s bridge and soundboard, giving it that warm, sweet, melodic sound. The acoustic guitar “sings” on its own—it does not need to be plugged into an amplifier, like its sibling, the electric guitar. In fact, just like Rooster, you can play the acoustic guitar by simply using your fingers or a guitar pick to gently pluck the strings. And, you can take an acoustic guitar almost anywhere and everywhere you go.

Mules toots the trumpet.

The trumpet is a lively instrument in the brass family, full of life and golden, rich sound. It’s been around for a long time. In fact, this instrument dates back more than 3,500 years. So how does it get its snazzy, jazzy sound?

A trumpeter “buzzes” their lips as they blow into the mouthpiece. The air vibrates down the trumpet and the sound dances out of the bell. The trumpeter also uses fingers to press down on the valves and pushes the slides back and forth to make just the right pitch and sound.

Duck can really jam on that piano.

The piano is a musical instrument that has wire strings that make a sound when struck by felt-covered hammers, which are moved after a player taps the keys with their fingers. If you count all the black and white keys, you will notice there’s 88 in total. There are also seven octaves! It has the widest range of notes of any instrument, and the songs you can compose on the piano are endless. The piano is versatile and can be used in every genre of music.

range on the farm)!

Like all the characters in the musical, you can use your voice as an instrument, too. When you sing, you are making music, thanks to something called vocal cords (a.k.a. vocal folds) located in your voice box (a.k.a. larynx) inside the neck. There are no two voices just alike, so your voice is a unique instrument to share with others, whether you are speaking, reciting a poem, or singing a song. Just as an instrument must be tuned, so must your voice. There are warmups and special exercises to practice to keep your voice healthy and performance ready.

These are just a few of the many, many musical instruments in use today. Instruments come in all shapes and sizes—from cultures all over the world—and they make many different sounds.

Ask your students the following questions:

• In addition to the acoustic guitar, trumpet, piano and voice, what other musical instruments can you name?

• Do you (or a friend or someone in your family) play an instrument?

• What type of sounds do these musical instruments make?

• How do these sounds make you feel?

• When or where have you heard musicians performing these instruments?

Indigo, Dairy and Chickee really have range (and we don’t mean free
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899–May 24, 1974)

Exploring musical genres and styles

All that jazz!

Jazz is a form of music developed by African Americans in the late nineteenth century. A blend of African and European musical traditions, it is truly an American cultural creation. It is music that relies on rhythm with “bent” and “blue” notes and a lot of improvisation. Improvisation means that jazz performers often make up songs, or parts of songs, on the spot. This is not an easy thing to do, but it is a great deal of fun. Many jazz songs also have “call and response” in them, which has one musician calling out with an instrument or voice, and another responding with a musical “answer.” It’s a conversation in a song.

The Hen from Ipanema …

Bossa nova is a mellow style of jazz that was created in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the 1950s by artists like Antônio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto. It encompasses the African rhythms and beats of samba, along with Portuguese lyrics and American jazz music. It has a cool, laid-back, beachy vibe. The song “The Girl from Ipanema” by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes was once the world’s most played song, just after the Beatles’ song, “Yesterday.” In our musical, Acoustic Rooster performs his own bossa nova tune called “Cucuricu,” which is inspired by the way Brazilians describe the sound a chicken makes.

Dairy’s songs are full of southern charm and twang!

Country is a style of popular American music that originated in the South and West. Its roots are steeped in folk songs and ballads, often with a country twang. The instruments are varied, just like the voices of those who sing country songs. If you listen to a country music station or album, you’ll often hear the steel guitar, bass, and drums—sometimes the autoharp, banjo, fiddle and more. Country singers love to tell stories of hardships and woes in their songs.

Let’s rock ‘n’ roll!

Rock ‘n’ roll, like jazz, is a popular music that comes out of the African American tradition. Musicians like Chuck Berry and Sister Rosetta Sharp combined elements of jazz, R&B (rhythm and blues), gospel and country, then added electric guitars, electric bass, drum kits and keyboards to create this wild and intense musical expression. Within rock ‘n’ roll music, there are subgenres, too, such as classic rock, funk, punk, alternative, progressive, hard, indie and heavy metal. A rock song is often fast paced with a rise and fall of emotions.

Did you hear Chickee rap? Squawk-a-dee!

Rap is a unique American form of music that uses rhythm, rhyme and spoken word performed over an instrumental beat to express a thought, tell a story or share an observation (and sometimes all three). With its roots in West African storytelling, blues and jazz, and African American poetry, rap was created on the island of Jamaica and in the streets of New York City. It is one of the most popular music genres today, and there are many new rap artists that arrive on the scene each year. The words they rap are just as important as the beats they create, and both will keep you thinking and dancing, smiling and chanting!

Hip hop until you don’t stop!

Hip hop is a cultural movement that includes rap, poetry, dance, theatre, literature, deejaying, visual arts (like graffiti) and fashion. It was born in the Bronx in New York City as a uniquely African American lifestyle of expression and shared experience, but the love for this cultural phenomenon has spread across the globe, loved and lived by kids and adults from Paris to Poland.

Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume features several unique musical styles.

And we do it all with soul.

Soul music was born from blues clubs, street corners and Black churches. When gospel songs and melodies were changed into secular lyrics for everyone to sing, regardless of religion, the result was this new vocaldriven music. It is often a mixture of up-tempo rhythmand-blues and has an expressiveness that is contagious. It has strongly influenced other genres like R&B, funk, dance music and hip hop.

Pick It Up!

Did you know the song “Pick It Up” in the musical is a go-go piece? Go-go originated in Washington, D.C., in the 1970s. It is said to have been created by guitarist and singer Chuck Brown. It has a sound that is influenced by salsa, funk, soul and blues. Its rhythm and heavy use of drumming on percussion instruments (including congas) make this music undeniably enjoyable to listen to, as you try to keep up with the colorful beat. A go-go band has multiple percussionists, keyboard players, and a string and horn section. There are often call and response sessions in these songs involving the audience. The beat in this style of music can go on for hours and hours because listeners just can’t get enough.

We got some Go-go and some BEBOP!

Bebop, also known as “bop,” is a style of instrumental jazz music that combines a lot of improv and has a unique sound that falls somewhere between cool jazz and big band swing. It has a fast tempo, and includes instruments such as the piano, one-to-three trumpets or saxophones, drums and a double bass. The unpredictable rhythms and challenging harmonies of leading bebop musicians like Charlie “Bird” Parker and Sonny Rollins always keeps listeners (and other musicians) on their toes.

I’ve got the blues over the news.

Blues is a form of folk music originally created in the South in the early twentieth century out of the field hollers, work songs and spirituals of enslaved African Americans. This expressive vocal and lyrical genre, often with a somber tone, uses an electric guitar and metal slide for a soulful effect, and has had a strong influence on jazz, rhythm-and-blues, rock ‘n’ roll and country music. While country singers tell stories, blues singers express the anguish and the hopes. Some people might say, “I’m kind of blue,” when they’re feeling down, and this kind of music does a great job of expressing the blues.

I’m singing about the Barnyard Boogie … Barnyard Boogie Blues.

Boogie is a style of blues that is usually played on the piano with a repetitive rhythm and groove, and a fast, strong beat to keep the energy alive and moving. The word “boogie” is also used to describe dancing to popular pop, rock, jazz or blues music.

You are amazing, you are so cool.

A ballad is a narrative verse that can either be a poem or become a song. When a ballad is a song, it usually has a slower tempo with lyrics that tell stories of love or difficult times. Ballads make beautiful, heartfelt songs and tend to be packed with emotions.

Born January 19, 1946

Identifying musical genres and styles

When discussing the different styles of music with your students, use the audio clips below for listening examples. After your discussion, use the activity worksheet (right) to test your students' knowledge of the different musical styles they will encounter in Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume. Play the examples randomly and ask your students to write the corresponding letter next to the music style they believe each song represents.

Bossa nova

"The Girl from Ipanema" (Instrumental)


 aub.ie/bossa-nova


"Suds in the Bucket"

Kidz Bop

 aub.ie/country

Rock 'n' roll

"Eye of the Tiger"


 aub.ie/rock-roll


"ABC Rap"

 aub.ie/rap

Hip hop

"ABC Song" (Hip hop remix)

 aub.ie/hip-hop-1



 aub.ie/hip-hop-2


"It’s All Right"

From Soul, by Jon Batiste and Celeste

 aub.ie/soul


"Funky Get Down"

Chuck Brown

 aub.ie/go-go Bebop

"Now’s the Time"

Charlie Parker

 aub.ie/bepop Blues

"Recession Blues"

B.B. King

 aub.ie/blues Boogie

"B.B. Boogie"

B.B. King

 aub.ie/boogie Ballad

"The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy"

From Toy Story 4, by Chris Stapleton

 aub.ie/ballad-1

"Cats in the Cradle"

Harry Chapin

 aub.ie/ballad-2

The musical styles above and to the right are listed in the same order.

Match the song to the musical style.


Make a guitar

With just a few easy-to-find materials, you and your students can make your very own acoustic guitar.

Materials needed

• Cardboard box (cereal, cracker or tissue box)

• Cardboard tube (paper towel or wrapping paper tube)

• Rubber bands

• Scissors

• Duct tape


1. Cut a hole on the front of the box for the soundhole and on top of the box to attach the guitar neck.

2. Make small cuts around one end of the tube.

3. Insert the other end of the tube into the hole at the top of the box and attach the tube to the box with duct tape.

4. Wrap the rubber bands from the top of the tube to the bottom of the box, securing them in the cuts you made. Tape them in place at the bottom of the box.

5. Your guitar is ready. It's time to rock out!

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Make a trumpet

With just a few easy-to-find materials, you and your students can make your very own trumpet.

Materials needed

• Paper

• Plastic bottle

• Cardboard tube

• Scissors

• Masking tape

• Stapler (optional)


1. Carefully cut the spout off a plastic bottle. You will want the cut part of the bottle to be slightly larger than the width of the cardboard tube. The bottle spout will be the mouthpiece for the trumpet.

2. Place the cut piece on top of the cardboard tube. Mark a line where they meet and then cut along the line for the mouthpiece.

3. Tape the spout to the cardboard tube. Make sure to create a good seal between the bottle and the tube. Start by taking small pieces of tape and taping vertically, then wrap a big piece of tape around horizontally.

4. Roll a sheet of paper into the shape of a funnel. Tape or staple the ends to secure it.

5. Place the cone into the bottom of the cardboard tube and mark the cone where they meet. Cut the end of the cone along the line. Start with cutting less and then trim more as needed.

6. Securely tape the cone to the end of the cardboard tube. This will be the horn of the trumpet.

7. Decorate your trumpet. What objects can you use to make the three valve buttons?

8. To play the trumpet, press your lips together and place the mouthpiece over your lips. Start buzzing your lips. When you get your buzz just right, the trumpet will sound.

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Let's get creative!

After learning about the characters that appear in Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo , allow your students to color/decorate the farm animal illustrations on the next few pages.

Encourage your students to think about the musician and character each animal represents when choosing how to

Encourage your students to be creative. Consider providing a variety of art supplies, including markers, crayons, colored pencils, pastels and paint. You may consider allowing your students to use other materials, too, like sequins, stickers, trim, flowers, tissue paper, feathers, toothpicks, candy, glue and tape. Let their

As your students are completing their illustrations, ask

Do remember the name of the Barnyard Boogie character associated with each animal?

For example, the mule represents Mules Davis.)

How about the name of the real-life musician each character represents?

For example, the duck represents Duck Ellington, who represents Duke Ellington.)

What musical styles does each character and/or

Share your students' colorful creations!

We'd love to see the masterpieces your talented students create. Send us a photo of their work. Be sure to include the student's name, age, grade and school with each submission. Images can be sent to us via email at gpac_education@auburn.edu

Meet the artists

Get to know a few of the talented artists who have brought this production to life.

LAUREN DAVIS (Chickee Minaj / Mom) hails from Baltimore and is excited to be a part of Acoustic Rooster. Her acting credits include Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Kennedy Center); Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, and A Christmas Carol (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); Corduroy, Akeelah and the Bee, Shrek the Musical, The Scarecrow and His Servant, Cinderella, Charlotte’s Web (Children's Theatre Company); Oliver! (Theater Latté Da); Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet (Pillsbury House Theatre/Guthrie Theater); Greensboro Four, American Song Book (The Smithsonian). Television credits include America’s Most Wanted (Lifetime). Most recently she directed the players of Olive Branch and Laurel Crown in a production of To Be A Solider and will be directing a production of Macbeth. She holds an M.F.A. from the Catholic University of America and a theatre degree from Frostburg State. She would like to thank God and her family for their love and support.

VAUGHN RYAN MIDDER (Duck Ellington / Elijah) is very excited to return to The Kennedy Center. Privileged to have been a part of the musical’s debut in 2021, Vaughn Ryan is thrilled to share this touching story with even more families throughout the country. Other credits include A Wind in the Door, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 (Kennedy Center); The Emmett Till Trilogy, Native Son (Mosaic Theatre); Sweat (Everyman Theatre); In the Heights en Español (Helen Hayes Award nomination, Gala Hispanic Theatre); Black Side of the Moon (Woolly Mammoth); Three Little Birds (Adventure Theatre MTC National Tour); Urinetown, Avenue Q (Helen Hayes Award, Constellation Theatre Company); Choir Boy (Studio Theatre). He holds a B.A. in theatre from the University of Maryland, College Park. @vaughn_ryan_ Black Lives Matter.

DANIEL RILEY (Acoustic Rooster / Dad). Kennedy Center debut. Daniel is excited to join the cast as Acoustic Rooster! Born and raised in Chicago. Favorite roles include Othello (Othello), Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Ragtime), and Narrator (Passing Strange). Jeff Award: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Best Ensemble), Silver Telly Winner: Christmas Mass at Mercy Home (Use of Music). Featured on Dark Side of the Moon a Capella

(VOCOMOTION Records). Regional theatre: Nina Simone: Four Women (MRT). Thanks to everyone at The Kennedy Center. Support live theater! “If music be the food of love, play on.”

KANYSHA WILLIAMS (Indigo Blume) is a Washington metropolitan area native who is thrilled to be making her Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences debut! Kanysha is a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. and George Mason University. Theatrical credits include Sister Act, The Color Purple, Always ... Patsy Cline, Aida, Little Shop of Horrors, Ain't Misbehavin' and more! Off stage, Kanysha works as a singer, performer, educator and private music instructor specializing in vocal and piano training. To God be the glory!

CAITLIN WITTY (Dairy Parton) is ecstatic to be at the Barnyard. Workshops/readings: Alice Bliss (Mark Brokaw/ Adam Gwon); Funny Face (Michael Mayer/Dick Scanlan). Regional: Marvelous Wonderettes (Swing: Alabama Shakespeare Festival) Jesus Christ Superstar (U/S Mary/ Ensemble: ACT of CT); Sister Act (Sister Mary Robert: Arrow Rock Lyceum); Swingtime Canteen (Katie: Arrow Rock Lyceum); The Little Mermaid (Adella: STL Variety Children's Theatre). Music video/vocalist: Break The Chain (Eve Ensler/Debbie Allen). Film/commercial: Stand Up (SilverArt s.r.o.); Neutrogena promo. B.F.A. Webster Conservatory. Caitlin is a national YoungArts finalist. Thank you for supporting live theatre! Light and love!

JAYSEN WRIGHT (Mules Davis / Mr. Woody). Previous credits: The Ballad of Emmett Till, That Summer in Sumner, Benevolence (Mosaic Theater); Gaston in Beauty and the Beast (5th Avenue); Choir Boy (Marin Theatre and Studio Theatre productions); I Hate it Here, Wig Out!, Rocky Horror (Studio Theatre); The Royale (Olney Theatre and 1st Stage co-production); Take Me Out and Now Comes the Night (1st Stage); Smart People, Jubilee (Arena Stage); The Importance of Being Earnest (Everyman Theatre); Actually, Sons of the Prophet (Theater J); Macbeth (Folger Theatre); The Wiz, A Christmas Carol (Ford’s Theatre); Measure for Measure, Wallenstein, Coriolanus (Shakespeare Theatre); Looking for Roberto Clemente, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,


Anatole, Davy Copperfield (Imagination Stage). Jaysen is an adjunct professor of theatre at George Washington University where he teaches acting. He holds an M.F.A. in acting from Indiana University and a B.A. in theatre from Grinnell College. @thejayceface www.jaysenwright.com

KWAME ALEXANDER (Author / Playwright) has written 37 books, three of them in a chair next to a fireplace at his neighborhood Panera Bread. He now writes in a penthouse in London, where he lives. But, he misses the writing studio he built in Virginia a few years ago. It has huge windows, a large painting of John Coltrane, 3,000 books, heated floors, a blue couch and a loft which was Randy’s idea. Kwame has eaten snails, chocolate-covered bugs and grasscutter, which is like a big rat, which he had no idea he was eating because it was in a really tasty stew he ate in Ghana while building a library and a health clinic in a village called Konko. He’s never eaten frogs. But, he has written a book about them called Surf’s Up. And, some other books you may have heard of like The Crossover and The Door of No Return, and How to Read a Book, all New York Times bestsellers, which his dad likes to brag about in grocery stores and doctor’s offices. Oh, he also wrote the book this musical is based on: Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Band. Kwame loves jazz. Kwame loves his family. Kwame loves his job. Part of Kwame's job is to write and produce the Disney Plus TV series based on his novel, The Crossover. The other part of Kwame’s job is to change the world one word at a time. Oh yeah, he also won the Newbery Medal. Whoa!

MARY RAND HESS (Playwright) is a poet, playwright, screenwriter and New York Times bestselling author of notable and award-winning books such as Solo (CABA Honor Book and NAACP Image Award Finalist) and Swing, coauthored with Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander, The One and Only Wolfgang: From Pet Rescue to One Big Happy Family, written with Steve Greig of @wolfgang2242 Instagram fame, and the forthcoming picture books Belong and Quiet is Strength. Mary loves collaboration and is currently at work on several exciting film and media projects. Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume is Mary's first musical collaboration, but certainly not her last. She lives in California with her husband, two wildly creative sons, and one quirky dog, who loves to sing while she composes on the piano. www.maryrandhess.com

RANDY PRESTON (Composer), an African Native American, is a singer-songwriter, educator and storyteller

raised and educated in the UK and Kenya. He taught English literature for 18 years before switching careers, spending the past seven years touring with Kwame Alexander, visiting more than 700 schools throughout six different countries and 48 of the 50 U.S. states. Randy starred in The Kennedy Center’s limited episode series, Songbook, where he wrote and sang songs with selected young poets. Songbook debuts in 2023. He recently signed a two-book deal with Penguin Books, and is eagerly awaiting the publication of his picture book collaboration with Alexander titled, How to Sing a Song, releasing in the summer of 2023. He was thrilled to present his original score for Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume, and played the role of Acoustic Rooster in the KCTYA debut in November of 2021.

LILI-ANNE BROWN (Director), a Chicago South Side native, works as a director, actor and educator, and has performed in, directed and produced many awardwinning shows in Chicago and nationally. Recent directing credits include: Joe Turner's Come and Gone (Huntington Theatre); School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play and the world premieres of Ike Holter’s I Hate It Here and Lottery Day (Goodman Theatre); Ain’t No Mo’ (Woolly Mammoth and Baltimore CenterStage); The Color Purple (The Muny); Once on This Island (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume (Kennedy Center); Put Your House in Order (La Jolla Playhouse); and Cullud Wattah (Victory Gardens). She is the former artistic director of Bailiwick Chicago, where she focused programming on Chicagopremiere musicals and new play development with resident playwrights. She is a member of SDC, AEA, and SAG-AFTRA, and is represented by William Morris Endeavor. www.lilbrownchicago.com

KEVIN LEE ALEXANDER (Sound Designer) is excited to join The Kennedy Center's Theater for Young Audiences on this production of Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume. Recent regional credits include Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical and Oliver (New Repertory Theatre); Day of Absence and The Raid (Theater Alliance); A Misanthrope (Avant Bard Theatre); Huckleberry Finn’s Big River (Adventure Theatre MTC); Bright Star (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma); and Step Afrika’s The Migration: Reflections of Jacob Lawrence (National Tour). Kevin holds a Master of Science degree in entertainment business from Full Sail University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from the University of Maryland. He is also a member of IATSE Local USA 829.

BREON ARZELL (Choreographer) Breon's breakout, and award-winning, premiere as a choreographer came with a Chicago production of The Hairy Ape. A Detroit native, he has worked at various studios, schools, universities (DePaul, Northwestern and Roosevelt) and theaters. Chicago credits include Little Shop of Horrors (Metropolis PAC); Kill Move Paradise (TimeLine Theatre); The Color Purple (Drury Lane); Head Over Heels and The Wiz (Kokandy Productions); The Total Bent (Haven Theatre); Marie Christine, Scottsboro Boys and more. Regional and television credits include: The Color Purple (MUNY), Once on This Island (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Miss You Like Hell (Olney Theatre); South Side (HBO Max); The 4400 (CW); and Empire (Fox). A dedicated teaching artist, critically acclaimed, and listed as one of the 50 Players for Chicago 2018 and 2020, he has worked/toured the U.S., England, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Singapore. Currently, along with developing original works, he is working on the restoration and revival of a historical black musical. Hip hop, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary and body percussion. www.breonarzell.com

JOEY BLAKELY (Stage Manager; he / him). Kennedy Center: 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert. D.C. area: Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Theatre); No Place to Go, The Upstairs Department, Rent, Escaped Alone, Gun & Powder, Assassins, Blackbeard, Billy Elliot, Passion, The Scottsboro Boys, Light Years, A Little Night Music, Jesus Christ Superstar, Titanic, The Fix (Signature Theatre); The Jewish Queen Lear, The How and the Why, The Last Schwartz, Body of an American, Sons of the Prophet (Theater J).

DELANEY BRAY (Assistant Sound Designer) recently graduated from Rutgers University—Camden, where she served as sound designer for Clybourne Park, Top Girls, The Vagina Monologues, and the 2018 studentdirected one act festival. She also served as assistant sound designer for Hamlet and Frankenstein. Recent local credits include Round House Theatre, Constellation Theater Company and Studio Theatre. Delaney has also worked with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival (2019 season) and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Delaney would like to thank her friends and family for always supporting her, as well as every dog ever.

MARIKA COUNTOURIS (Sub Music Director; she/her) is excited to be back after working on last year's tour launch of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. She holds a B.M. in musical theatre from The Catholic University of America and serves as vocal instructor and area accompanist for

Howard University's B.F.A. musical theatre program. Some of her credits include A Strange Loop (pre-Broadway run, Woolly Mammoth); Ride the Cyclone (Arena Stage); Grace (world premiere, Ford's Theatre); The Color Purple (Signature); We’re Gonna Die (Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Music Direction, Flying V); Godspell (Great Lakes Center for the Arts); The Last Five Years (Constellation); Songs for a New World, Head Over Heels, Be More Chill, Daddy Long Legs, Brooklyn (Monumental). Up next: Passing Strange (Signature). @marikanne

DOMINIC DESALVIO (Assistant Lighting Designer) has worked on shows throughout the D.C. area including at The Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, NextStop Theatre, Solas Nua and Mosaic Theatre. He has also worked professionally at Shakespeare festivals, regional theaters, opera companies, dance companies, television news studios and live music venues across the country. A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, he was also the proud recipient of the Kenan Fellowship at The Kennedy Center.


MARK G. MEADOWS (Orchestrator / Music Director). Acclaimed jazz pianist, music director and composer/ arranger, Mark G. Meadows is a man on a mission: to create a unifying sound that harmonizes different walks of life. Ever since his award-winning turn as lead role Jelly in Signature Theater's electrifying production of Jelly's Last Jam, venues everywhere, including The Kennedy Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center, have sought him for his ability to combine the raw, spontaneous nature of jazz with the story-telling component of live theatre. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including DC Jazz Artist of the Year in 2020 and a Henry Award for Outstanding Music Direction in 2022. He has performed alongside worldrenowned artists including Cynthia Erivo, Usher, Renée Fleming, Bobby McFerrin, DeeDee Bridgewater and many more. Mark’s work exudes his joy and fosters a sense of freedom among his collaborators. @markgmeadows

ANDREA “DRE” MOORE (Properties Designer). Her properties and puppet designs have been on proud display at various theatres in the Maryland/D.C. area for the past 20 years (Adventure Theatre—MTC, CenterStage Baltimore, Discovery Theatre, Flying V, Imagination Stage, Olney Theatre, Rep Stage, Rorschach Theatre, Round House Theatre, Theatre J). She currently calls the Puppet Co. in Glen Echo her artistic home, building sets, puppets and props for various productions. Several of her works

are on rotating display at DoodleHATCH, an interactive art museum experience in Columbia, Maryland. www.doodlehatch.com

ARNEL SANCIANCO (Scenic Designer) Arnel is an award-winning set designer and a professor of scenic design at Arizona State University. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he received an M.F.A. in stage design. His nationally recognized portfolio includes The Color Purple (MUNY); Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (The Huntington Theatre Co.); The Lifespan of a Fact (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume (Kennedy Center); Ain’t No Mo’ (Woolly Mammoth); Put Your House in Order (La Jolla Playhouse); Lottery Day (Goodman Theatre); Choir Boy, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, We Are Proud to Present, (Steppenwolf); Athena and A Doll’s House (Writers Theatre); Nina Simone: Four Women (Arizona Theatre Company); The Mousetrap, Photograph 51, The Belle of Amherst (Court Theatre); Twelfth Night (American Players Theatre); The Nerd, The All Night Strut! (Milwaukee Rep).


ALBERTO SEGARRA (Lighting Designer). Select D.C. credits include The Thanksgiving Play (Olney Theatre Center); Quixote Nuevo (Round House Theatre); Good People (Keegan Theatre); Tender Age (Studio Theatre); El Perro del Hortelano (GALA Theatre); Earthrise (Kennedy Center); Blood at the Root (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lighting Design, Theater Alliance); Satchmo at the Waldorf (Mosaic Theater); An Act of God (Signature Theatre). Regional credits include 1776 and The Gift Horse (New Repertory Theatre) and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Blue Barn Theatre). Alberto received an M.F.A. in lighting design from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a USA 829 member. www.albertosegarra.com.

MOLLIE SINGER (Assistant Scenic Designer). A Christmas Carol (Chesapeake Shakespeare Co.); Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed (Scenic, Imagination Stage); Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Props, Imagination Stage); The Glass Menagerie (Scenic, Rep Stage); Fuller (Scenic, Duke University); Hookman (UMD, Scenic Design); Subject to Change (UMD, Scenic Design); Souvenir (Rep Stage, Scenic Design); Lady Day at Emerson’s … (Rep Stage, Scenic Design); True West (Rep Stage, Properties); The Heidi Chronicles (Rep Stage, Properties); Dorian’s Closet (Rep Stage, Properties); What Every Girl Should Know in rep with Dry Land (Forum Theatre, Properties); H2O (Rep Stage, Properties); Richard III (Chesapeake Shakespeare

Co., Properties); American Hero (Rep Stage, Props); Hunting and Gathering (Rep Stage, Scenic Design); Sunset Baby (Rep Stage, Properties).

SARAH SLAGLE (Wardrobe / Prop Supervisor) is a wardrobe technician, costume designer and teaching artist from Cleveland, Ohio. Sarah has studied at the Moscow Art Theatre (MXAT) in Moscow, Russia and received an M.F.A. in costume design from Northern Illinois University in May 2021. Previous credits: wardrobe supervisor (Randall L. Jones & Englestadt Theaters, Utah Shakespeare Festival); dresser (Porthouse Theatre). Design credits: Twelfth Night (Kane Repertory Theatre); Macbeth (Shakespeare at the Castle); Bent (MUSE Theatre Collective). If you were to ask her whether she prefers teaching, designing or dressing more, the answer is always whichever she's currently doing. Love to her family and teachers. Thank you for supporting live theater!

ERIK TEAGUE (Costume Designer). D.C. area: Blackbeard (Signature Theatre); Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume (Kennedy Center); The Lion, The Unicorn and Me (Washington National Opera); The Touchstone (Wolf Trap Opera); Color’s Garden (National Gallery of Art); Master and Margarita, The Wild Party, Equus (Constellation Theatre); The Phantom of the Opera, Richard III, The Trial, Titus Andronicus, Sleepy Hollow, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Man in the Iron Mask (Synetic Theater). Regional: The Threepenny Opera, Cabaret (The Atlanta Opera); The Cunning Little Vixen, La bohéme, Ariadne in Naxos, Odyssey, Wilde Tales, Trouble in Tahiti, The Flying Dutchman (The Glimmerglass Festival); Lohengrin (Opera Southwest); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Actor's Express Atlanta). Awards: one Helen Hayes Award, six Helen Hayes Award nominations, two Suzy Bass Awards, two-time KCACTF National winner. www.erikteaguedesign.com

CHANNING TUCKER (Assistant Costume Designer) is a costume and puppet designer and a recent graduate of the University of Maryland’s M.F.A. program. They most frequently design for dance, including various dance concerts for Dance Exchange, the University of Maryland and Howard Community College. They designed the world premiere of Monstrous at Howard Community College. Past design credits include Puffs! (Howard Community College); The Nether and The Burn (Montgomery College); Risk of Play, Ghost Bride, Outbound, Flyin’ West, Corpora Caelestia, Tides (University of Maryland). Their long-term project is a puppet film adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh

Made possible in part by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts