Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Based on the 1970s cartoon, this fast-paced musical teaches lessons with clever, catchy tunes.
Show Essentials
6
Roles
G
Rated
1
Act

Full Synopsis

In the dark, we hear the sound of an alarm clock ringing, and Tom, a young teacher preparing for his first day of school, appears. As he nervously rehearses what he will say, the Ensemble enters, speaking out his thoughts. These characters are Tom's many emotions, personified: there is George – the romantic side, Dori – the goofy side, Schulie – the sweet side, Joe – the cool side, and Dina – the mature side. His thoughts range from being excited to terrified.

Tom watches some TV to calm himself down. When he turns on the TV, one of his old favorites, "Schoolhouse Rock," is on. As he watches, he gets swept up in the excitement ("Verb: That's What's Happening"). When it ends, he is startled to find his "sides" have come to life and are standing in front of him. They explain that they represent everywhere he has been, everyone he has known and every person that he has ever met ("A Noun Is a Person, Place or Thing"). They are here to help Tom remember that teaching is as easy as counting to three ("Three Is a Magic Number"). Tom thinks he is hallucinating and tries to get rid of them, but he needs them – that's why they're there ("Mother Necessity"). They encourage Tom to remember that he wants to be a teacher because both his grandmother and her mother were teachers. In their lifetimes, teaching was one of the few job opportunities open to women ("Sufferin' 'til Suffrage"). He also remembers working at his grandfather's hardware store as a child and sneaking away on Saturday mornings to watch "Schoolhouse Rock," which taught him about adverbs ("Lolly, Lolly, Lolly"). It also taught him about adjectives ("Unpack Your Adjectives"). But Tom has to teach more than that – math, science and social studies ("Just a Bill / The Preamble"). By revisiting these moments from his childhood and getting caught up in them, Tom remembers that learning can be fun... and that's why he wants to be a teacher ("Ready or Not, Here I Come").

When the gang becomes exhausted from all of the excitement, Tom encourages them to stay active ("Do the Circulation"). Joe is ready to do a song about pronouns, but he needs some help from the group ("Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla"). Schulie plays Tom's guitar; the instrument is shaped like a figure eight, which inspires her to remember how she and Tom learned multiplication tables ("Figure Eight"). Next, George gives a rock and roll physics lesson ("A Victim of Gravity"). Staying on the math and science track, George and Schulie introduce us to a hero who changed counting ("Zero, My Hero").

Although they have covered many parts of speech, Tom thinks of one that they've left out: conjunctions ("Conjunction Junction"). Joe reminds Tom that school will be a very important transition to America for many of his students who are not native English speakers, just as America went through an important transition as it expanded ("Great American Melting Pot / Elbow Room / Interplanet Janet"). The thought of going to the moon has the whole group energized; they use words that properly express that energy ("Interjections"). Tom thanks everyone for helping him. He has one last song for them about sentence structure ("The Tale of Mr. Morton"). As the song ends, all of the characters are gathered around Tom as if he were teaching. He asks if there are any questions, and Schulie's hand goes up.

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Tom
A young teacher who has just received his degree. He has a good heart and is excited about the future, but still unsure and nervous.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: A4
Vocal range bottom: F2
George
Tom's romantic side. Typically sweet and caring.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: G2
Dori
Tom's goofy side. Endearing, cute, and very playful.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Shulie
Tom's sweet side. An earnest and sweet ingenue who plays guitar.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Joe
Tom's cool side. Very slick and laid back, but also fun loving.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: A4
Vocal range bottom: G2
Dina
Tom's mature side. She is thoughtful, grounded, and the voice of reason.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Full Song List
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Verb: That's What's Happening
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: A Noun Is A Person, Place Or Thing
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Three Is A Magic Number
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Mother Necessity
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Sufferin' Till Suffrage
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Lolly, Lolly, Lolly
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Unpack Your Adjectives
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Just A Bill
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: The Preamble
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Ready Or Not, Here I Come
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Do The Circulation
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Figure Eight
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: A Victim Of Gravity
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Zero, My Hero
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Conjunction Junction
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Great American Melting Pot
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Elbow Room
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Interplanet Janet
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: Interjections
Schoolhouse Rock Live!: The Tale Of Mr. Morton

Show History

Inspiration

Schoolhouse Rock Live! is based on the original "Schoolhouse Rock" television series. This 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. It returned due to popular demand in 1992 as a part of "The ABC Bugs Bunny Hour," and many new songs were added to the repertoire.



Productions


On August 26, 1993, Theatrebam Chicago's musical hit, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, opened at Chicago's Cabaret Voltaire. The show was originally conceived by writer/director, Scott Ferguson. Schoolhouse Rock Live! played for eight months to sold-out houses in a record breaking run.

Schoolhouse Rock Live! moved to The Body Politic Theatre in June of 1994 and continued to sell out for another seven months.

Theatrebam Chicago teamed up with Move On Productions and took Schoolhouse Rock Live! to New York City in 1995. The show opened first at the AtlanticTheatre and then at the historic Lamb's Theatre for an Off-Broadway run of eleven months. It then moved triumphantly back to Chicago in 1996 and ran for a year at the Victory Gardens Theatre and The Theatre Building. Its final performance was March 2, 1997.

Cultural Influence

  • Forty years, 41 songs and four Emmy Awards later, those of us who grew up with "Multiplication Rock," "America Rock," "Science Rock" and "GrammarRock" can still sing the "Preamble to the U.S. Constitution" and know that "and," "but," and "or" all belong in "Conjunction Junction."
  • In 1991, a student at the University of Connecticut collected over 2,000 signatures from her peers, professors and neighbors in an effort to convince ABC to return "Schoolhouse Rock" to the morning lineup. The effort was successful, and it returned in 1992.

Trivia

  • Tony-winning lyricist, Lynn Ahrens, is a mainstay songwriter and singer for the "Schoolhouse Rock" TV show and contributed material to Schoolhouse Rock Live!, as well.
  • Due to the success of Schoolhouse Rock Live!, additional "Schoolhouse Rock" stage shows have been created, including Schoolhouse Rock Live, Too! and Schoolhouse Rock! JR.
  • The original production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! premiered in the basement theatre of an eclectic vegetarian restaurant.
  • Lynn Ahrens not only wrote music and lyrics for several of the original Schoolhouse Rock songs, but sang them, too, including "The Preamble."

Critical Reaction

"A phenomenon...."
– Entertainment Tonight



"Can't get enough!"
– MTV News



"Nostalgic blast from the past"
– CNN



"A rollicking, robust stage show"
– Insight Magazine



"Sheer joy!"
– Chicago Sun-Times

Connect

Billing

Based on an idea by David McCall and a television series created by George Newall and Tom Yohe.
Special thanks to Original Cast Members, Joseph Beal, Dina Joy Byrd, Shulie Cowen, Dori Goldman and Tom Mizer

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE!
 
Originally Adapted and Produced for the Stage by Theatre BAM
 
From the Series Created by George Newall and Tom Yohe
Based on an Idea by David McCall
 
Book by
Music and Lyrics by
SCOTT FERGUSON, GEORGE KEATING and KYLE HALL
LYNN AHRENS, BOB DOROUGH, DAVE FRISHBERG, KATHY MANDRY, GEORGE NEWALL and TOM YOHE

 

The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
ERRATA LIST1
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK20
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 12
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE ACT 22

Production Resources

Resource
CUSTOMIZABLE SHOW POSTERS
DIRECTOR'S SCRIPT
LOGO PACK
REHEARSCORE+
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIRTUAL STAGE MANAGER

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASSBANJO , BASS
DRUMSBONGO , GUIRO , KIT , WOOD BLOCK