The original Schoolhouse Rock television series
was the brainchild of an advertising executive who noticed his
son could remember all the words to popular songs on the radio,
but could not remember the multiplication tables. He reasoned
that if important educational information was coupled with exciting
animation and catchy music, children would be able to learn
and remember it.
| From this simple idea, Schoolhouse Rock was born and quickly
adopted by ABC-TV which broadcast the series on Saturday mornings
from 1973 to 1985. Twenty years, 41 songs, and four Emmy Awards
later, those of us who grew up with Multiplication Rock, America
Rock, Science Rock, and Grammar Rock can still sing the Preamble
to the U.S. Constitution and know that "and," "but," and "or" all
belong in Conjunction Junction.
Interest in Schoolhouse Rock is as strong as ever. A student
at the University of Connecticut recently collected over 2,000
signatures from her peers, professors, and neighbors in an effort
to convince ABC to return Schoolhouse Rock to the morning line
up. The series was added as part of the ABC Bugs Bunny Hour in
1992 and many new songs have since been added to the repertoire.
|On August 26, 1993, Theatrebam Chicago's
musical hit, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, opened at
Chicago's Cabaret Voltaire. Schoolhouse Rock Live!
played for eight months to sold-out houses in a record breaking
run in the basement theatre of this eclectic vegetarian restaurant.
Gay Chicago Magazine praised Schoolhouse
Rock Live! as "the must see show of 1994."
The Chicago Reader raved, "(Schoolhouse
Rock Live! is) a wonderfully engaging show ... literally
not a slow micro-second."
A shorter version of Schoolhouse
Rock Live!, suitable for school assemblies, hit the road
the same year.
||Schoolhouse Rock Live!
moved to The Body Politic Theatre in June of 1994 and continued
to sell out for another seven months. In that time, the show was
honored with two 1994 After Dark Awards for "Outstanding
Production" and "Outstanding Ensemble." The Chicago
Sun-Times gave the production an "A+" and said it
was "sheer joy."
Theatrebam Chicago teamed up with Move On
Productions and took Schoolhouse Rock Live! to
New York City in 1995. Schoolhouse Rock Live!
opened first at the Atlantic Theatre and then at the historic
Lamb's Theatre for an Off-Broadway run of eleven months.
|Schoolhouse Rock Live!
triumphantly moved back to Chicago in 1996 and ran for a year at
the Victory Gardens Theatre and The Theatre Building. Its final
evening performance was March 2, 1997.
Schoolhouse Rock Live! and Theatrebam Chicago has been
featured in The Chicago Tribune and USA Today
as well as on CNN, MTV, Entertainment Tonight, All
Things Considered, and many other broadcasts.
Schoolhouse Rock Live! is now available to other theatre
companies and school drama departments through Music
Theatre International. Productions include a national tour,
the Canadian premiere, and even a production on London's West End.