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Marriott’s 'Schoolhouse' Still Rocks

Song, dance and history lessons are in store for audiences of Schoolhouse Rock Live!

The beloved 1970s cartoon series comes to life at the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences with a spirited production that pays homage to learning through music.

Directed by George Keating (one of the original co-creators of the show), the musical tells the story of Tom (Brian Bohr), an earnest schoolteacher who needs help connecting with his students. The “Schoolhouse Rock” gang appears to help Tom remember that even the driest subjects can be engaging when you add catchy tunes and clever lyrics.

The show is choreographed by Ericka Mac with music direction by Ryan T. Nelson, who, along with the actors, do a fine job of remaining loyal to the original songs while adding a fresh take with silly sight gags and interactive games. The musical number “Ready or Not, Here I Come” is particularly entertaining as the ensembles plays hide and seek with the audience, and “Unpack your Adjectives” takes interactive to a new level (I won’t spoil the fun, but beware of “soggy” if you’re seated in the front row.)

As a child of the '70s, Schoolhouse Rock Live! took me on a sweet trip down memory lane. Although some of the songs are dated, the lessons within are still relevant today, especially the ones that use straightforward storytelling to explain complex concepts (my 8-year-old son is now committed to creating a new law after hearing the song “I’m Just a Bill”). The show runs 60 minutes long and is recommended for children 5 and up. Although younger children might not grasp the concepts, they are likely to enjoy the music, as was the case with my 5-year-old niece, who gave the show a thumbs up, even though it had “really big words.”