Bob Dorough singer/songwriter and co-creator of School House Rock!
Cast Photos Click on any image for a larger version, if available.
'Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.' is catchy, cute and a lot of fun
By Kathy Lauer-Williams
OF THE MORNING CALL
April 27, 2010
Fast paced and colorful, the Pennsylvania Playhouse production of
''Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.'' combines a cast of fresh-faced kids
with catchy songs designed to teach students about grammar, math,
science and history.
The simple but fun show is the company's first fully staged student
production. A cast of 16 children ages 9 to 16 give an enthusiastic
take to the iconic songs from the Saturday morning cartoon series
from the 1970s and 1980s.
The 45-minute show, an abridged version of the hit off-Broadway show
adapted for young actors, moves quickly as directed by Wendy Borst.
It is a perfect length for wiggly youngsters.
The revue-like play features 11 of the TV show's most memorable
songs, including ''I'm Just a Bill,'' in which soloist Sawyer Long
does a good job bringing to mind the original vocals of Jack Sheldon
from the series.
The simple set brings the performers through a giant television
screen and into the living room of a teacher played by adult actor
Hunter Chadeayne. The only adult in the cast, Chadeayne has energy
to spare and holds his own on a stage full of children.
The young actors skillfully change hats and props to fit the scene,
depicting lots of characters, from the Statue of Liberty to a crowd
For the song ''Elbow Room,'' about the expansion of the United
States, the kids tangle themselves together to humorously
demonstrate the overcrowded condition that led to the growth of the
One of the show's most memorable songs, ''Interplanet Janet,''
includes lots of on-stage action with Alyssa Reese as Janet in-line
skating among the nine planets in the solar system, represented by
the other children. Clever sight gags abound, including one student
who hula-hoops to represent Saturn.
Richard Rakmahnin does an admirable job cramming in all the words as
the lead on ''Conjunction Junction,'' as a trio of girls croons the
The students' voices blend well on the songs, although some of the
younger solo voices are not yet strong enough to completely overcome
the lack of amplification in the playhouse's intimate theater. So
they can be a little hard to hear.
The Saturday matinee performance also had a special guest, acclaimed
jazz pianist Bob Dorough, a Pocono Mountains resident who wrote two
of the songs in the show -- ''Three is a Magic Number'' and
''Conjunction Junction.'' Dorough joined the students on stage for a
couple of songs after the show.