Forty-four area students between the ages of 7 and 14 should ace an eighth grade civics test that
requires students to write The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, according to Schoolhouse Rock Live!, Jr. director Sarah Ackerman-Hale.
“They might be singing along with it as they write it, but they’ll never forget it,” Ackerman-Hale said.
The students know the words backwards and forwards thanks to their participation in Broadway Review’s production of Schoolhouse Rock Live!, Jr. The show, which features musical numbers from the popular television cartoon Schoolhouse Rock, includes a song, “The Preamble.” Its lyrics mirror those at the beginning of the Constitution. Broadway Review’s choreography of the number will feature the Electric Slide.
The show will be the first Broadway Review production to feature an unoriginal script.
Ackerman-Hale said Broadway Review organizers talked about doing Willy Wonka until Spring Hill High School selected the show last year.
“So our second choice was Schoolhouse Rock,” she said.
Many of the show’s organizers are in their mid-to-late 30s and fondly recalled the television show. And the subject matter, Ackerman-Hale explained, is really applicable to what third and fourth graders are learning in school.
“That was how it all began,” she said.
The song, “Conjunction Junction,” is a show-stopper with the adults, the director said.
“‘Unpack Your Adjectives,’that’s one of my favorites,” she said. “The kids in the show – they’re favoriteite song is ‘Interjection.’ It is to the tune of the ‘Hallejuah Chorus.’ And the kids get to shout out a lot of interjections which kids typically love to do.”
A team of volunteers built the sets and are helping with choreography, musical direction and costumes, Ackerman-Hale explained.
And Broadway Review organizers have cooked up another surprise for audiences who attend the show.
Ashley Stanley, Gardner, is directing a mini-show that will open before the curtain rises on Schoolhouse Rock Live!, Jr.
“We’ve got some songs that are like a little Broadway review medley,” Ackerman-Hale said. “It’s like a warm-up act.”
Spring Hill’s Broadway Review is unlike anything else in the metro area.
For starters, it’s affordable. It also accommodates kids who have interests outside of musical theater.
“We try hard to accommodate kids who are in other activities beyond theater so it’s not life consuming. We love the fact that a lot of our participants are well rounded and do a lot of different things. Sure we have kids that take voice lessons and acting classes, but we have lots that don’t,” Ackerman-Hale said. “Those kids want to perform, too.”
While the organization puts a premium on creating an entertaining, good show, the Broadway Review program also allows anyone who wants to participate to have a part in the show.
“It’s a recreational program. We have fun, and it’s about introducing kids to theater as opposed to getting kids ready for Broadway,” Ackerman-Hale said.
In the meantime, Broadway Review also teaches its participants the value of healthy competition and to dream big and think creatively. Although everyone is guaranteed a part in the show, the kids audition for parts.
The director said audiences will enjoy the final product.
“It’s songs from the cartoon held together by a fairly loose plot with lots of crazy characters and crazy props,” she said. “It’s a show that will take you back to your childhood and it’s also fun for the kids, too.”