Schoolhouse Rock Live! | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Schoolhouse Rock Live! 

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Cynics might say that any show based on television--like, say, The Real Live Brady Bunch--is bound to be popular among the nostalgic vidiot generation. And there may be some truth to this. But there are also genuinely compelling reasons for the success of the musical-comedy revue Schoolhouse Rock Live!, adapted from ABC's long-running series of educational "commercials" shown on Saturday-morning TV. For one, the songs--" Conjunction Junction," "Three Is a Magic Number," "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly (Get Your Adverbs Here)"--stand up to repeated viewings. (That's not surprising: Schoolhouse Rock creators George Newall and Tom Yohe designed these short pop-rock songs to be as infectious as TV jingles--entertaining even after the nth repeat.) For another, director Scott Ferguson's ensemble, always likable and energetic, has gotten richer over the course of the six-month run. More comfortable with the material and the choreography, which they now execute with a fluidity that brings out the humor in even the subtlest movement, the six cast members no longer feel compelled to win the audience over with cute, self-conscious mugging. They let the material entertain for itself, which seems to be enough for the scads of people who line up every weekend to see Theatre BAM's show. Cafe Voltaire, 3231 N. Clark, 202-4543. Open run: Fridays-Saturdays, 9:30 and 11:30 PM. $10. Also at Northwestern University, Norris University Center, McCormick Auditorium, 1999 South Campus Dr., Evanston, 708-491-2305. Saturday, March 5, 7 PM. $3.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jesse M. Khan.

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