Schoolhouse Rock Live!

Of course, now that I mentioned that we hadn’t been to see a show for a while, we see a couple of them in a relatively short period of time. After Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz left us feeling less wicked and more blah, we decided we needed something a little more peppy.

A few years back – in fact, just after I moved to Charlotte – I had gone uptown to see the traveling version of Schoolhouse Rock Live!. It just so happens that my wife had asked me about it, since she noticed that it was being put on by the Children’s Theatre, so we decided to go see it.

There is a bit of a disconnect here. Though the Children’s Theatre did the show, and though it was hosted at the Imaginon uptown (a nice venue), we actually went for the 21-and-up event (their first), because it was the only weekend event that still had tickets available. So we saw the adult version put on by the Children’s Theatre. Really it just meant one reference to a quaalude and some beer and wine served at the show. Other than that it wasn’t too bad, and I have to assume that everything else was pretty much the same. The show itself wasn’t as good as I remember the Off-Broadway cast, but it was still quite enjoyable.

The night started with a great light show – outside. There was a monstrous thunderstorm coming to town and it hit just after we stepped inside. Others weren’t so lucky. They were drenched. At 6:30, the pizza started arriving from Brixx, and the line started forming. Luckily we were near the front, and so we were able to partake of some pizza and appetizers pretty easily. Good thing, too, because the line was long. Really long. The people that put on the production didn’t do a very good job of planning the layout – rather than a single long food table, they should have had two shorter ones. Or at least let people move down both sides. Or something. It was just really poorly planned. But it generally went off pretty well.

While the food didn’t go too well, the “bars” actually did just fine – a couple of tables were set up, and you received tickets when you came in. The lines were short (presumably because the food lines were so long). Beer and wine prices were pretty expensive but soda and water wasn’t bad. So we sat and munched our food and drank our drinks, then staked out a spot near the front of the doors so we could get a good spot. Lucky for us, because the rest of the crowd was still in line for food.

Around 7:30, the doors opened and we scored a good spot in the auditorium. The show began after a brief costume contest.

The tale centers around a nervous school teacher, who doesn’t think that he can handle his first day with all those little kids. Luckily he flips on the television set and is suddenly beseiged by the characters from Schoolhouse Rock!, who take him through a number of sets, reassuring him that he’ll be okay as he gets through the different parts of his day. Of course, he may also be flipping out, so there may be other issues to deal with, but that’s for another show.

You’ll hear some of your favorites, but with a limited run time and no intermission, you’re only going to get 20 or so songs, and with nearly 50 in the whole repertoire, it’s a safe bet that you won’t get all of them. Most seem to focus on the grammar and political aspects of teaching, as they are more interesting – after all, how many math lessons do you need? I also don’t recall any of the money rock pieces showing up, but there could have been some of them in there.

I was most proud that they played The Tale of Mr. Morton. Not for any particular reason, but the next week I was watching an episode of Are You Smart Than a Fifth Grader, and I used Mr. Morton to beat my wife to the answer – on a grammar question!

Anyway, I thought it was cool.




One response to “Schoolhouse Rock Live!”

  1. Joe Avatar

    Hey man, great post about Schoolhouse. I’ve just moved to Charlotte. Actually, I moved THE day of that 21 and over performance of Schoolhouse. But because of a cold, couldn’t get to it that night.

    I’m looking forward to more posts of yours.

    By the way, I’m an Artistic Associate of theater here in town and we have an upcoming show. We’re doing an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Check it out if you and Denise have the time.