1/4/2020 SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! Georgia Ensemble Theatre Family Stage
THREE MAY BE A MAGIC NUMBER, BUT I GOT SIX
It turns out that, when Schoolhouse Rock! premiered in 1973, I was in college and (almost) an adult, so it semi-sorta slipped beneath my radar. (Okay, I do confess to enjoying Sesame Street at the time, but that’s a story of a different color). Which is to say, I’m not especially familiar with these songs, and have avoided the musical collecting them, because, well, reasons.
Which, of course, means experiencing this production was (almost) a brand-new experience. Okay, it’s impossible to have missed all exposure to some of these “lesson songs.” “I’m Just a Bill” is especially ubiquitous, both in original and parody versions. And “Conjunction Junction” does strike some chords of familiarity.
Even so, as “Brand New Experiences” go, this one was pretty good. As usual for GETFS shows, the script is pruned to a fast 60 minutes, the cast is wonderful, the direction is tight, but, most important, the songs are lively toe-tapping gems, the lessons simple and effective. It makes me almost wish there were songs for calculating square roots or reviewing basic trig and calculus.
So, Tom is a young teacher, nervous about his first day in front of a classroom. Out of his closet come various aspects of his personality to reassure him, and to share the lessons found every morning right on his TV. The lessons include “Three is a Magic Table,” which lets the audience recite the three-times table with the cast, “A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing,””Lolly Lolly Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here,” “The Tale of Mr. Morton” (that teaches the concept of subject and predicate), “The Preamble”, the aforementioned “I’m Just a Bill,” “Do The Circulation,” and “Interplanetary Janet,” among many others.
And, the main lesson, is of course, “Believe in yourself! you know what to do!”
This was a marvelous entertainment, even for over-educated Old Folks like me, and Saturday’s young audience was totally enrapt and attentive.
As they did in Aesop’s Fables, the (I got) six members of the GETSF repertory company – Patricia de la Garza, Allen Dillon, Ryan Duda, Adam Hobbs, Kayla McCaffrey, and Maddie Steele – attack the show with energy and talent, grabbing short attention spans and never letting them go. As staged by director Laurel Crowe and choreographed by Sarah Elaine Stratton, this is wonderful hour that will be enjoyed by the very young, by their parents who grew up with these songs, and even by us folks who were past our childhood-expiration-date when Schoolhouse Rock first went (pre-Internet) viral.
If you have wee ones to entertain, or a nostalgia jones to feed, this show is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.
-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com @bk_rudy #GETFSSchoolhouseRockLive)
Schoolhouse Rock Live will be on GET’s Roswell stage for the next two Saturdays and will return in April. Look for GETFS’s Tuck Everlasting in February and March, and the return of And Then They Came For Me March 1 only.