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Young BPA actors revive a pop culture classic with 'Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.’
I know how a bill becomes a law.
I know the proper function of conjunctions.
I know that the patella is connected to the femur, and to this day I can recite the preamble of the Constitution.
I know all of this and more because I watched Schoolhouse Rock.
The continually loved pop culture phenomenon will see the latest of several revivals this weekend at Bainbridge Performing Arts in the form of “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.,” as played by the students of the BPA summertime Theatre School.
The original series of animated short films aired from 1973 to 1985, and quickly became a Saturday morning staple. So much so, in fact, that there was a revival of the program — including both original and new episodes —which aired from 1993 to 1999.
The musical is based on the book by Scott Ferguson, Kyle Hall and George Keating with music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, Kathy Mandry, George Newall and Tom Yohe.
The BPA stage production is being helmed by Zandi Carlson, interim director of education, and features more than 30 gung-ho students between 7 and 15 years of age.
“We have a really strong cast for this show,” Carlson said. “Many of the students are returning to BPA Theatre School and continue to grow and develop skills they’ve learned in previous years. We also have a few new faces, and we are so excited to add their abilities and gifts to the cast.”
Discussing the continued appeal of the material, several members of the cast agreed that the show’s lasting power came from the fact that it is so approachable.
“I think it’s popular because it’s just a really fun thing,” said returning BPA performer Zachary Nordberg, 10.
“It’s original,” added fellow cast member Cat Pasion, 8.
Still others claimed that the educational value of the material was the real secret to the success of Schoolhouse Rock.
“I think it’s because it’s fun,” agreed Sophie Eldridge, 10. “There’s songs, and it teaches you something. There’s something to remember. You learn things from hearing that song, rather than just hearing a song for fun.”
Not that the songs in this show aren’t fun. The BPA production includes such singalong favorites as “Just A Bill,” “Unpack Your Adjectives,” “Conjunction Junction” and more.
The musical tells viewers the tale of Tom, a nervous newbie teacher about to meet his first class. He tries to relax with a little morning television, and the characters on screen come to life representing various aspects of his personality. Tom’s musically inclined inner monologue teaches him that the secret to winning over his new class is imagination and inspiration.
The cast includes Josh Moff, Carter Wolff, Chloe Bohonos, Delaney Taylor, Freeman Tuohy, Mia Alpaugh, Libby Clements-Hall, Sophie Eldridge, Simone McGraw, Abi Curtis, Tessa Longley, Bently Eldridge, Cayley Mead, Zac Norberg, Gracie Harris, Bennett Ross, Josh Mead, Katie Irvin, Cat Pasion, Alison Sherwin, Marisa Leinaweaver, Lexi Hegarty, Charlotte Crampton, Rose Weaver, Olivia Lunt, Trey Field-Bennett, Sophie Hegarty, Jameson Payne, Mazzy C. Fagerlund, Jacob Spinak and Nora Wilson.
“Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1 and will run for three shows only.
Tickets are on sale now; the cost is $12 for adults, $7 for seniors, students, youth, military and teachers.
Visit www.bainbridgeperformingarts.orga for more information.
From cartoon to mainstage
What: BPA’s Theatre School production of “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 and Sunday, Aug. 3.
Where: BPA (200 Madison Ave. North).
Admission: Tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for seniors, students, youth, military and teachers.