Peabody-Burns students will sing a variety of memorable and imaginative songs when they perform “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” this weekend at Brown Gymnasium.
Play director Laura Leitnaker said the one-act musical is based on the Emmy Award-winning 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series that taught a variety of subjects through its use of songs.
“When I initially pitched the idea to students, they weren’t so excited because it doesn’t have the drama that our murder-mystery production had last year,” Leitnaker said. “But it didn’t take that much for them to get into it once we started rehearsing. The songs are just so catchy, fun, and lively, the kids seem to really enjoy getting to be silly.”
Songs like “Conjunction Junction,” “Just A Bill,” and “The Tale of Mr. Morton” might spark a hint of nostalgia in audience members who watched the cartoon series.
“I think it is going to be really fun for kids,” Leitnaker said. “It might spark a fond memory for many people in the audience.”
She said the story centers on a new teacher named Tom, played by Cody Navrat, who is nervous about his first day of teaching. The fun begins when he tries to relax by sitting down to watch TV in his living room and various characters emerge from the set.
“They represent different parts of Tom’s personality,” Leitnaker said. “They help him with things. Each has a different song.”
April Newfield plays Shullie who represents Tom’s s sweet side. Katie Charles plays, Dina, who is Tom’s mature side.
Tom’s cool side is named Joe and played by Chance Elliot. Zach Stephey plays George, Tom’s romantic side, and Breanna Lett plays Dori, Tom’s silly side.
The cast is rounded out with a student ensemble and accompanied by a piano, bass, and percussion trio.
“A couple of the cast members have been involved in musicals a lot in the past, but this is the first years for others,” Leitnaker said. “It’s nice to see the new kids get involved.”
She said procuring posters and especially props for the production has been challenge student have had to overcome.
“We’re just going to wear our jeans and T-shirts, but we’ve got a lot of props that go along with the lively musical scores,” Leitnaker said.
The cast will use props ranging from as small as a toy rat to larger more intricate props, like a model of the solar system, she said. Audience members in the front rows may want to take rain gear because there might also be water gun fight at one point during the production.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Peabody-Burns High School in Brown Gymnasium with a repeat performance at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are available at the school office or by contacting a student involved in the play, Leitnaker said. Prior to the show, cost is $4 for children 5 and under and $5 for adults, while cost at the door is $6 for children 5 and under and $7 for adults.