The Emmy Award-winning 1970's Saturday morning cartoon series that taught history, grammar, math, and more through clever, tuneful songs is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1973 and since its creation as a musical, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK has gone from television screens to stages everywhere–from school multi-purpose rooms to university and regional theatres all around the country.
Now is the perfect time to experience the joy and creativity of the beloved series by performing any of our three SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK shows. It seems that “three is a magic number,” just as the song says!
Three “Magic” Shows
1. SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! follows Tom, a nerve-wracked school teacher who is nervous about his first day of teaching. He tries to relax by watching TV when various characters representing facets of his personality emerge from the set and show him how to win his students over with imagination and music, through such songs as “Just A Bill,” “Three is a Magic Number,” and “Conjunction Junction.” With its minimal band, set, costume and flexible cast requirements, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! may be performed in virtually any space, bringing its infectious zest to a cross-generational audience.
2. SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE TOO! is full of modern lyrics, catchy melodies, upbeat dance sections, and witty banter. Audiences of all ages will fall in love with Nina, the owner of a fading diner and her wacky friends. Together, this charismatic crew (made up of a friendly waitress, a “regular” at the diner, a chef, and a first-day schoolteacher) tries to brainstorm ways to save their run down diner. As they reject one idea after the next, they remain encouraged by songs from their favorite show, Schoolhouse Rock. In the end, they realize that the answer was right in front of them all along…the Conjunction Junction Diner is up and running and open for business!
3.Designed for Middle-school aged performers, SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! JR. is a 70-minute version with a loose, revue-like structure that allows for a great deal of flexibility in staging and cast size. Set and costume design can be as simple or complex as your budget or imagination allow. And because most of the songs are so familiar and easy to learn, rehearsals are bound to be a snap.
Video – Bob Dorough Plays Live
Audio – NPR Interview with Bob Dorough
In honor of this landmark anniversary, NPR recently sat down with Bob Dorough, who composed, conducted and even sang much of the Schoolhouse Rock's music for a conversation about this important milestone. Check out the interview here.