Schoolhouse Rock

Alert! Tickets for the Sat, May 14 show at 7pm are two-for-one so you can have twice the fun! Click here for ticketing information (use the code “family”) when ordering.

Some of us have been around the block a time or two with musical theater. We’re jaded about shows that’ve been on the scene for a while. We’re always looking for the next great thing. An “American Idiot.” A “Book of Mormon.”

But most of us who’ve caught the musical theater bug were first exposed to this uniquely American art form during youth. Someone took us to see a work of theater that made a lasting impression. That had lyrics we could relate to. That told a story both magical and familiar.

This weekend, and next, you can experience just such a show — right here in the Valley — as Greasepaint Youtheatre presents “Schoolhouse Rock.” It’s the perfect show for elementary-age children, because its themes are all familiar school topics.

Grammar. Science. Social Studies. Arithmetic. All set to song and dance — a sort of homage to one of our highest goals for eduction. The idea that learning should be fun. And who better to reinforce it than young actors a child in the audience can really relate to?

I wasn’t able to attend opening night for “Schoolhouse Rock” because Lizabeth and I had tickets for the “Childsplay Presents Its Greatest Hits Gala” taking place at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort (more on that in a future post) — but I wanted to see and then write a bit about the show.

It’s directed and choreographed by Molly Lajoie Plutnicki, a member of the Childsplay 2010-2011 acting company you might have seen performing in this season’s “A Year With Frog and Toad.” She and Greasepaint producing director Maureen Dias-Watson graciously let me sit in on Thursday night’s run-through so I could give you a a sneak peek.

When I arrived at the theater, I found two cast moms sitting at a long table set up in the lobby for last-minute costume work. Another mom sat sewing by hand on a couch in the green room, as two cast members did homework seated on another couch nearby.

I shot some photos in the lobby, in the green room, from the house seats and even one or two from the wings — and decided to share them with you below to give you a flavor for both the show and what it takes to put such a production together.

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I was delighted to see that the cast includes several talented actors whose work we’ve enjoyed in other Greasepaint shows, but also plenty of fresh, new faces. It’s no fun when youth theater gets cliquish — and I love that Greasepaint doors are always open.

When my son suggested Friday morning that we hit a Valley museum, I knew just which one to pick. We charged our camera batteries and drove down to the Arizona Capitol complex to take in the four-story Arizona Capitol Museum.

The museum features exhibits about various branches of government — executive, legislative and judicial. The legislative section includes a room dedicated to hands-on exploration of how laws are created, something that reminds me of the “Schoolhouse Rock” tune titled “I’m Just a Bill.”

A trip to see the musical “Schoolhouse Rock” at Greasepaint Youtheatre, coupled with time spent exploring the Arizona Capitol Museum (which offers free admission), is a perfectly pleasant way to help your child explore topics he or she is learning about in class.

Opportunities to witness our children’s “Aha!” moments, or to share moments when they feel empowered by what they know, pass far too quickly. Take it from a mom who has seen three children from preschool to college.

There are far worse fates than driving home in the car singing songs like “Three is a Magic Number” or “Interplanet Janet” together…

— Lynn

Note: Greasepaint Youtheatre performs “Schoolhouse Rock” in Scottsdale through May 15. Click here for show dates/times and ticketing information.

Coming up: Young Arts Arizona meets St. Joseph’s Hospital, Art adventures: Arizona Capitol Museum, Dancing Queen

Update: KAK is treating every mom at the Sunday, May 8, 2pm performance to a fabulous Mother’s Day cupcake. Click here to learn more about this K***A** bakery in Phoenix.

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