Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review of Emerald City Theatre's Schoolhouse Rock Live!

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Schoolhouse Rock Live. The book was by Scott Ferguson, George Keating, and Kyle Hall based on the series by George Newall and Tom Yohe. The music and lyrics were by Lynn Ahrens, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, Kathy Mandry, and Newall and Yohe. It was directed by Morgan Ashley Madison. It was about this guy named Tom (Ron King) who was a school teacher. And then different parts of his mind--evidently named Dori (Eliza-Jane Morris), George (Jed Feder), and Shulie (Emily Goldberg)--were helping him make learning fun by singing a lot of Schoolhouse Rock songs. I liked the songs a lot and it was fun to see the songs done on stage. I felt like there wasn't much of a story though, even though they kind of pretended there was. This was a very silly and fun show.

I've always really loved the song "Just a Bill," and I thought in this show they did some really fun stuff with it. They had George dress up like the bill (costumes by Sarah Jo White) and then the women would dress up like people who worked in the government. They had debates on stage about this bill and then the bill became a law, and because it is anthropomorphic you feel like, no matter what this bill is, that you are glad it became a law. If we actually knew what the bill was, we might not be so happy it became a law. But it is really celebrating how the government works, the government system, not a specific law.

I really liked the song "The Tale of Mr. Morton." It is still stuck in my head. It is about predicates and the subjects of sentences. It is also about a very lonely man, who is a crazy cat man kind of, but he meets a woman who also likes him, which is great for him because now he doesn't have to just talk to his cat anymore. I find that this is one of the catchiest songs in Schoolhouse Rock. I think it has a very good beat and very easy-to-remember lyrics.

I thought the dances for the songs (choreography by Madison) seemed really fun and I could see that everyone on stage was working their butts off. Those dances require a lot of jumping around and energy on stage, and they really did do that well. One of my favorite parts was the box turning in "Three is a Magic Number." I thought it was engaging and very fun to watch. Another of my favorite dances was the one for "Unpack Your Adjectives." The dance told a story which I thought was super cool. It had this section where they ran into a bear and they screamed and ran away and then immediately started dancing which I thought was funny.

People who would like this show are people who like Schoolhouse Rock songs, number boxes, and anthropomorphic bills. I think a lot of people would enjoy going to this show with younger kids. It would be a new experience for the little kids and these songs are still fun and relevant.

Photos: Johnny Knight

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