Families will soon be rocking out at Tempe Center for the Arts as Childsplay brings the hit 1970s and ‘80s cartoon series “Schoolhouse Rock” to life on stage.
The TV show, which presented academic subjects through megahits like “Conjunction Junction” and “Just a Bill,” has received a bit of a makeover as Childsplay premieres an updated sound to the popular hits.
“One of the things I really wanted to do was put a little more ‘rock’ into ‘Schoolhouse Rock,’” says director Anthony Runfola. “While this production will still feature a wide cross section of musical styles and the original melodies are all still there, we have given the music a fresh perspective.”
Also getting a fresh perspective is the design of the show. The Holly Windingstad set was designed to reflect the digital age, influenced by both the 1980s video game Tetris and the current game sweeping the nation, Minecraft.
Multi-media effects will also breathe new life into the show. Video will be integrated with the choreography of the show and even projected onto prop and set pieces.
“Even though ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ may not be on TV anymore, the show is still used in classrooms by the teachers that grew up with it,” says Runfola. “The show will bring back great memories for the adults. But for the children, it’s going to connect directly with their lives right now. I can only hope the music stays with them as it did with me and my generation.”
IF YOU GO
What: Schoolhouse Rock Live!
When: 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays through May 25. The 1 p.m. performance on Sunday, April 20, is a storybook preview performance; each family that attends receives a free book.
Where: Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Cost: Tickets start at $12; recommended for ages 6 and older.
Information: (480) 350-2822 or ChildsplayAz.org