This weekend I took Chicken and Nugget to see School House Rock, Live! at the Beaverton Civic Theater. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. It ran just under 2 hours with an intermission.
The play is based on the television show that many of us watched as children (well, not me. I was generally afraid of high quality children’s programming. I am now ashamed to admit that I found Mr. Rogers to be incredibly creepy. What grown up changes their shoes and sweaters that much, let alone talks to trolleys? I now fully appreciate his contributions to society). The show revolves around a teacher who is nervous about going to school and teaching a room full of 8-year-olds. Reasonably so, I say. A cast of characters show up in his dreams (spoiler alert) to help him make learning fun and interesting.
The show is non stop singing and dancing. The set is simple, but the use of over 100 props keeps it interesting and new. The songs are catchy and perky and I personally loved the girl power song about women getting the right to vote. The cast member who sang “I’m Just a Bill” gave the song so much style and personality that it was another one I really enjoyed. The characters in the show are fun, silly, smart, and relatable.
Chicken and Nugget gave it mixed reviews. Chicken seemed to generally like it, although not one of her favorites. She was excited when she figured out that the audience was filling in as the classroom full of students, and commented that the song about the eights times table helped her because those eights can be tricky! Nugget was not as impressed. He did not give a solid reason why he didn’t like it, but it was safe to say he was not a fan. Although he did praise the use of the kangaroo puppet.
My guess is that Nugget was a bit young for the show (he’s 5). It is very kid friendly and completely appropriate for children his age in terms of content. However, the lyrics of the songs are sung very quickly and include content that is not familiar to kids his age, like proper use of adverbs and conjunctions, the use of the number zero in place value, etc. I think he was looking for a cohesive story line to follow, where this show is more a connected series of educational songs.
Girl Scouts are also invited for a backstage tour after the show where they get to see and touch some of the props, stand on the stage, take pictures with cast, and see how the light and sound booth work.
What it is: Incredibly high energy show, full of songs and minimal dialogue, interesting incorporation of technology, a group of fun and talented actors, reasonably priced, kid friendly
What it is not: content not likely to be fully grasped by the younger child
Do we recommend it? Chicken and I do. I would recommend it for children 7 and up if your goal is for them to understand the content of the show, any age if you just want an afternoon out with your kids listening to some fun music and watching goofy characters on stage.
Tickets can be purchased at http://www.beavertoncivictheatre.org/tickets.html. The show ends October 13th.