The Players Guild of Dearborn presents the Guildlings summer youth theatre production of “School House Rock Live! Jr.” The show will run for one more weekend, Friday through Sunday, with all performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 with open seating. The Guild is at 21730 Madison, south of the intersection of Monroe and Outer Drive in Dearborn. For more information, call (313) 561-TKTS, or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.
By Sue Suchyta
When live performance mimics television, it usually takes the form of an ice show or satire. Think of Disney on Ice or the Brady Bunch reunions.
“Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.,” however, is different. The fast-paced show takes its cue from “Sesame Street.” It makes learning fun and offers upbeat songs for young actors learning their craft.
The junior production is a simplified version of the original full-length musical. The Guildlings, the youth theater arm of the Players Guild of Dearborn, make the most of the show’s upbeat songs.
The set and costumes are fairly simple, as is the premise. A new teacher is nervous about his first day on the job. Characters in his subconscious pop up to prod and encourage him. They do so in upbeat song and dance numbers.
Parents will remember the television show, and will enjoy the déjà vu of songs like, “Conjunction Junction,” “Just a Bill” and Interjections.”
Other songs in the show include, “Three is a Magic Number,” “Unpack Your Adjectives,” “The Preamble,” “Do the Circulation,” “Great American Melting Pot” and “Interplanet Janet.”
Many parents may recall how the show’s lyrics helped them answer a test question or pass an exam.
Today’s computer savvy, sound bite generation won’t understand their parents’ nostalgia, but they will appreciate the quick pace of the music and visuals — and what better way to learn something that to be entertained?
Wayne State University sophomore Michael Bollman plays Tom the teacher with self-deprecating charm.
His subconscious day players are enthusiastically brought to life by Joseph Gaber as George, Bella Fothergill as Dori, Hannah Mitchell as Shuli, Jared Klann as Joe and Maddie Kaplan as Dina. They lead many of the numbers.
The supporting cast is 23 members strong, and range in age from preschoolers to teens.
The energetic ensemble includes Molly Boudreau, Jacob Danke, Miranda Fothergill, Nick Gencarelli, Cole Haas, Ian Hass and Quinn Higgins.
Dominic Johnson, Marco Johnson, Ryan Klann, Sabreena Klann, Allison Koehler and Olivia McPherson also contribute their talent to the show.
Alanah Nancoff, Max Nancoff, Jeshua Nimmo, Johanna Nimmo, and Shoshanna Nimmo add their abilities to the show as well.
Emily Pletzer, Emma Scott, Ky’la Sims, Adriana Viscomi and Maria Viscomi are also part of the talented team.
Director Margaret Winowiecki almost magically bestows order upon the cast, while Karen Danke capably and patiently directs them musically.
Jennifer McPherson, who choreographed the Guild’s recent production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” keeps the cast moving to the beat. During rehearsals she maintained a calm and steady demeanor in a setting that is synonymous with chaos.
Tim Carney and Valerie Haas capably co-produced the show.
“Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” ends its run with performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with all performances starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5, with open seating.
The Players Guild of Dearborn is at 21730 Madison, south of the intersection of Monroe and Outer Drive in Dearborn.
For more information, call the Guild ticket line at (313) 561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.