By Jesse McCaskill
I have been planning this project since Jeff’s passing almost three years ago. I had just started my career as a theatre teacher and director when Jeff died. After the events of the past two years, I felt now was the right time.
I reached out to my high school theatre teacher, Ricky Mitchell, who directed many shows with Jeff and to Donna Butler, who performed in several community plays with Jeff. Together we outlined a plan and chose a play. We chose You Can’t Take It With You because it was the first play Jeff directed as a teacher. We asked the CCHS Alumni Association to help with the project by advertising and dispersing the scholarship funds.
Open auditions were held in May, and the show was cast. For two months our dedicated cast has rehearsed and helped finance the project. We are eager to see all of this hard work pay off for this great cause.
The cast includes: Presley Connor, Dr. Don Shull, Trevor Pevovar, Ray Eaton, Crystal Hart, John McCaskill, Haley Heenan, Seth Wilson, Gary and Rosemary McKnight, Shannon Sewell, Collin Baker, Barry Smith, Tonya Clayton, Donna Butler, Kym Stidham-Lovett, Cora Sharp, and Wayne Roberts.
Before Jeff was the “Voice of the Eagles,” he was one of the theatre directors at CCHS. When Jeff moved to Chester County in 2005, CCHS had not had a theatre teacher in several years. He brought theatre back to CCHS with the production The Invisible Man. Jeff co-directed many plays and musicals during his time at CCHS. He was always willing to take on any production role that was needed. He always seemed to pick up where others left off and fill in the gaps. Jeff was always willing to be the “silent servant” in the background.
Jeff, his wife Paula, and children Kira and Nathaniel moved to Henderson in 2005 from Pennsylvania. He was a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University. He taught math at CCJHS and CCHS. At CCHS he taught advanced math and dual enrollment math, sponsored the Beta Club and Mu Alpha Theta, and was the announcer for many sporting events. He was a community volunteer and was always willing to lend a hand. He passed away unexpectedly on August 21, 2018.
You Can’t Take It With You shows what happens when a girl from a carefree but very loving family falls in love with a boy from a wealthy, uptight family. As the play unfolds, the couple’s two worlds collide. The story proves that love, happiness, and family are more valuable than earthly wealth because “You Can’t Take It With You.”