Douglas High rocks with ‘Schoolhouse Rock Live!’
Douglas High School and Carson Valley Middle School students are rehearsing late into the night to bring the musical “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” to the high school stage opening night, Thursday.
The play, adapted from the Emmy Award-winning Saturday morning cartoon series, popular in the 1970s, has a cast of nine singing the 21 songs, that are both lively and educational.
“We were looking for a small-cast musical,” said director James Scoggins, “one that would be children-friendly and that a lot of people would know.”
On Monday afternoon, the cast was still working on the choreography for three songs.
“We’re doing a show in a total of six weeks that rehearsals usually go for eight weeks,” said Scoggins. But, in the show-business tradition, he added, “It always comes together somehow.”
Scoggins grew up in what he called “generation X.”
“It was probably the generation X experience,” he said, “listening to ‘Schoolhouse Rock.'”
Even though members of the cast were born about 15-20 years after generation X, four of them had DVDs of the show in their homes, he said.
The cast was preparing to perform in front of a live audience on Tuesday, with the show running Thursday through Saturday, and May 25 and 26. The house opens at 7:30 p.m., the play begins at 8 p.m. at all performances. The cost is $8 for students and seniors, $10 for adults. Tickets should be purchased at the door.
“Schoolhouse Rock Live!” is Douglas High School’s third production this school year and it features five students from the high school and four from Carson Valley Middle School, musical director and accompanist Chuck Wayne, with choreography by Scoggins and the cast. Rehearsals began in early April, and were interrupted by spring break and a field trip to Ashland, Ore.
“Schoolhouse Rock Live!” teaches the audience about subjects like history and English, but in an amusing way.
The cast rehearsed the song “Elbow Room,” written about the explorers Captain Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and how Sacagawea led them across the country on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
“We found the most elbow room we ever had,” crooned the cast.
Allison Hines, a senior who plays Dori, read the choreography to the other students, from her pink-striped binder.
“Come in closer,” she said, as they all pointed up to the “moon.”
Students portrayed roles such as Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon, as Allison directed them through their paces – pointing, waving them on – only losing her place once in her binder.
Then they went through it all again, this time with music.
“Oh, I can’t sing this song,” she said, but she sang the song as the other students followed along, going through their moves, singing “Elbow Room.”
Tom – Caleb Brown, Douglas High School senior
Joe – Sean Derbyshire, Carson Valley Middle School freshman
George – Nick Weaver, Carson Valley Middle School freshman
Dori – Allison Hines, Douglas High School senior
Shulie – Jaime Skilling, Carson Valley Middle School freshman
Dina – Desiree Davis, Douglas High School senior
Chorus – Kristin Cobb, Douglas High School junior; Kerri McCrosky, Douglas High School senior; Sara Garic, Carson Valley Middle School freshman
Director – James Scoggins
Musical director and accompanist – Chuck Wayne
Choreography – James Scoggins and cast
Lights – Michael Magno
Stage manager/sound – Nate Schaller
Props – Rachel Kiehne
Stage hands – Samantha Cobb and Lindsey Cook
— ‘Schoolhouse Rock Live!’ was 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. The book is by Scott Ferguson, George Keating and Kyle Hall, music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, Kathy Mandry, George Newall and Tom Yohe.
‘Schoolhouse Rock Live!’ is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.