BLOOMSBURG — The history of today’s National Park Ranger will be told in musical theatre, as the Bloomsburg Public Library hosts a free preview and the first public performance of Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s “Park Protectors: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers and the National Park Service” on Saturday.

Among the earliest caretakers of America’s national parks were soldiers from all-Black regiments. Starting in the 1890s, the Buffalo soldiers played a critical role in protecting and building the infrastructure of the country’s most cherished public lands, our National Parks. Using song and BTE’s hallmark energetic physical storytelling, “Park Protectors: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers and the National Park Service,” takes students on a musical journey through Yosemite and into the past to learn the compelling and under-appreciated history of the brave men who fought wildfires and poachers to create the now-familiar role of park ranger. The production is part of BTE’s Theatre in the Classroom (TIC) program.

Bloomsburg Public Library’s preview at noon Saturday is free and open to the public. There is a study guide available at, for guests who want to learn more about the topic.

Dante Green — a black, queer, multi-hyphenate theater artist born and raised in Bloomsburg — directed “Park Protectors.”

Green is an alumnus of Headlong Dance Institute, where they studied physical theater and independent production, and of The University of the Arts with a bachelor of fine arts in directing, playwriting, and production. Green is the founding artistic director of The Makers’ Ensemble, a theater company based out of Brooklyn, New York, where Green currently resides. Green is also a member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters. Their work has been seen Off-Broadway and regionally in Philadelphia, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Toronto, Canada. When not working professionally, Green is a theater instructor at Wesleyan University, New York University and Sheridan College.

This production of “Park Protectors” is part of BTE’s Emerging Artist Initiative, which Green is inaugural fellow of.

“When BTE conceived the Emerging Artist Initiative, Dante was the natural first choice to be its recipient. They’ve grown up on our stage, and carry a lot of talent, which really shines in this production,” said Andrea Bishop, BTE communication director.

The company sat down with Green two years ago and asked them what their interests were in working with BTE.

Green told them that they were interested in directing with the company, and they felt that the TIC program would be a great introduction to directing with the company.

“I was given full agency in terms of what topic I would like to explore in the TIC program, and I remembered reading about the Black park rangers in our National Park Service in an article in the New York Times,” Green said. “Upon further research, I learned about the Buffalo soldiers and become very fascinated with the idea of working on a play about them. It’s a little-known fact about our American history that I feel should be more widely known and appreciated in our education systems.”

Bishop was excited about the production.

“I love that Dante has discovered this buried story of our country’s history and has found ways to bring it to life for us,” she said. “It’s stories like these that make the U.S. a rich and varied tapestry.”

Green said the process has been a joy getting to work with the BTE team and the guest actors that they’ve brought in for this production.

“I was privileged to be able to cast the production and am working with a fellow Makers’ Ensemble company member, Gabe Moses on the project, as well as a Bloomsburg University graduate Brian Bond, and ‘new northerner’ Meagon Williams, who just moved to Philly from Alabama,” they said. “The group could not get along more smoothly and I’m thankful to be working with such a skilled and generous group.”

Green said this piece is one with many firsts, and they couldn’t be more excited to be involved with it.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever worked on a Theater for Young Audiences Production, as well as the first time I’ve worked on a piece with so much historical context,” they said. “It’s also the first all-Black Theatre in the Classroom production at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, so I’m really honored to be leading the charge in such a change-making play about these Black men who created such an impact at the turn of the Civil War.”

Green said they hope this show will help audiences learn something new that inspires them to spread awareness about the Buffalo soldiers.

“I also hope that this piece motives young people, particularly people of color, to go outside more, and enjoy the state and national parks that this country has to offer because, in reality, we were at the beginning of the history of these parks,” they said. “People of color were not a foot note, they were an integral part of maintaining America’s most beautiful natural regions.”

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