Music and lyrics: Various individuals. At: Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St. Tickets: 800-775-2000; BroadwayinChicago.com; $16-24. Runs through: Aug 28
I'll "unpack my adjectives" and tell you about Schoolhouse Rock Live! at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower place. This musical revue is made up of educational songs from the well loved television cartoon shorts from the '70s. They take you from grammar to history to mathematics with fun catchy songs that you can't help but hum along to. ( The series was pretty ambitious tackling topics such as women's suffrage and how a bill becomes a law besides just explaining nouns ). This production is geared for kids, they have cut the amount of songs in the show and it runs 50 minutes without intermission. The kids in the audience were quiet and attentive throughout the show so it must be engaging them.
The cast of only four performers is energetic and are asked to do lots of things that are not easy. They move blocks in numerical order or pick out signs with words on them in order etc. I was very impressed with their dedication and high spirits. Jed Feder, as George, the goofy rocker type is the standout. He gets some pretty good laughs with his performance. Unfortunately the props look like things created for a high school musical. The worst part about that is they are very hard to read, even when up close. Not good for this type of educational show. The choreography, by Morgan Ashley Madison & Alex Seeley, is really cute.
I saw the original BAM production created by Chicagoans years ago and absolutely loved it. In subsequent years I have seen productions produced from theaters to gay bars and I have to say this is my least favorite. The other productions balanced the fun of the songs with a tongue in cheek show. This production feels more like something that should be at an assembly in a grade school. I did miss some of their song omissions like "Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here" and "Elbow Room". For something educational to take your kids to, and not expensive, this is a good show for you. For adults who want a nostalgia trip this is a miss. I wanted my "Interjections" to be WOW! but it was mostly "meh."