By Ian Barkon
Hull and the online community will hit the books when students from the Hull Public School Theatre Arts program teach history, grammar, and math through clever and tuneful songs in their production of “Schoolhouse Rock Live! JR.,” it was announced today by Drew Cohen, president and chief executive officer of New York-based Music Theatre International.
“Many of us remember ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ as the Emmy Award-winning three-minute Saturday morning cartoon series that taught children how to unpack their adjectives, memorize the preamble to the Constitution, and discover that ‘Three is a Magic Number.’ These episodes covered grammar, history, science, social studies, and math in such a fun manner that the series became a pop culture phenomenon. The Hull Public School Theatre Arts students are bringing that same spirit of fellowship, excitement, and curiosity to their stage production and are exploring school subjects in a whole new way while doing so. We think they deserve a standing ovation from the community for all their work,” says Cohen.
The Hull Public School Theatre Arts program will present, through online streaming, “Schoolhouse Rock Live! JR.” on May 15 and16 at 7 p.m. Streams are available for purchase at $21 for a family at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/52460. Based on the popular television show, “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” is an enjoyable and educational show that teaches students and audiences of all ages that learning is fun. The show features music and lyrics by Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, George Newall, Kathy Mandry, Lynn Ahrens, and Tom Yohe and a book by George Keating, Kyle Hall, and Scott Ferguson.
Tom, a school teacher nervous about his first day of teaching, tries to relax by watching TV. Suddenly, the “Schoolhouse Rock” kids appear in his building’s rec room and proceed to show him how to win over his students with imagination and music. The beloved “Schoolhouse Rock” songs include “A Noun Is a Person, Place, or Thing,” “Three Is a Magic Number,” and “Unpack Your Adjectives.”
Music Theatre International (MTI) is viewed as one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theaters from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is considered a driving force in advancing musical theater as a vibrant and engaging art form.
MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists, and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials, and dynamic theatrical resources to more than 70,000 professional, community, and school theaters in the United States and in more than 60 countries worldwide.
MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theater and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-age performers; MTI’s School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.
“Schoolhouse Rock Live! JR.” is being presented through special arrangement with (and all authorized materials are supplied by) MTI.
Ian Barkon is Hull High School’s music educator and interim theater director. He can be reached at email@example.com