Seeing that Schoolhouse Rock Live! was currently playing in Chicago, I instantly wanted in on this nostalgic musical journey. Though the show at the Apollo Theater in partnership with Emerald City Theatre was recommended for ages 3-13, I quickly found that children young and old could enjoy the whimsical production.
A talented crew of four put on the hour-long show, complete with colorful lights, ever-changing screens, and sparkly outfits (yes, and hair streaks.) The premise was simple: Our main character Tom, played by Ron King, was a school teacher about to begin his first day, and these three Schoolhouse Rock guides, Dori, George, and Shulie, played by Lillie Cummings, Jed Feder, and Emily Goldberg, aimed to give him the material necessary to teach his class. Alas, our musical medley began, taking us back to the ’70s and reminding us that we indeed did know all the words to “Conjunction Junction.”
The show started off with discussion on basic grammar: verbs, nouns, et cetera. We then moved into the history section. I was joyous to hear the Preamble song ring out through the crowd. The cast was full of fun as well as full of talented vocal ranges. Moving across the stage, using props, and colorful stage sets all allowed for a captivating show for the target age group. With one cast member dressed as a bill, we heard the “Just a Bill” song, and moved into some one-off subjects. The cast sang about circulation in heart-decorated sweatshirts, and moved on to “Interplanet Janet”, which, to be honest, is still stuck in my head today.
Ending the show in one hour’s time, the cast led us through a journey of the past, when Schoolhouse Rock was utilized in every class I took, and helped me to learn such vital subject details. I was happy to see these old favorites dusted off and performed anew in front of a new audience. For children and adults alike, Schoolhouse Rock Live! proved to be a fun show that had many of us singing along.
Schoolhouse Rock Live! will be at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., through June 5. The show lasts for one hour and is great for all ages to enjoy. Purchase tickets for $20 each online or by phone at (773) 935-6100. Schoolhouse Rock transfers to the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place for a summer run July 8 through August 28.