EDWARDSVILLE — The Curtain’s Up Theater Company will present “School House Rock Live” May 5-8 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Katherine Dunham Hall.
Director Melissa Peterson provided information to AdVantage News about the musical revue.
For information and to order tickets, visit curtainsuptheater.com.
Q&A with Melissa Peterson
Q: Describe the story line of “School House Rock, Live!”
A: “School House Rock Live” is a musical revue of the much-loved and remembered 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series that used catchy musical numbers to educate children. The story follows a nervous new teacher anticipating her first day of school. She attempts to unwind by watching TV as a delightful array of characters fill her imagination with old classic “Schoolhouse Rock” songs as “Just A Bill,” “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly” and “Conjunction Junction.” I believe this show will be enjoyed equally by nostalgic parents and children experiencing “School House Rock” for the first time.
Q: What do you like about the show?
A: Hearing these songs has been fun and has sparked a lot of my favorite childhood memories. I love the way it reminds me of those Saturday mornings I spent curled up on the couch watching Saturday morning cartoons with my brother. It’s been great introducing them to a new generation and watching those memories brought to life on the stage.
Q: Tell us about the cast of “School House Rock, Live!”
A: The cast has been great to work with. The entire cast is made up of kids, other than the one adult who plays the teacher. What’s really fun is that Sarah Chapman-Wiser, who is playing our teacher, Tammy, is actually a teacher in her real life and has been singing these songs in her classrooms for years. It’s kismet! I also find it ironic that I remember all these songs from my childhood, but most of the kids in the cast have never seen these cartoons. But I enjoy working with young actors. They’ve got great energy and they’re all so eager to learn stagecraft. I’m impressed with how professional they all act, even though this is the first production for some of them.
Q: What is your musical background?
A: I’ve loved the theater since I was the age of the kids in this show. I acted all throughout my school years and earned a bachelor of music degree in musical theater (with an emphasis on voice) from SIUE. During my studies, I had many opportunities to act, sing and direct in plays, musicals and opera. I’ve performed with other theater companies and choral groups since then but had to take a break once I started a family. Once my kids got to be a bit older, I found the opportunity to get involved in theater again when I found the Curtains Up Theatre Company.
Q: What has your experience been with Curtain’s Up Theater Company?
A: My family and I just discovered CUTC a few years ago. My three children, my husband and I were all involved in the 2014 production of “Annie.” Since then, we’ve all performed in a number of plays and musicals. It’s been lots of fun sharing my love of theater with my family, and it’s nice to have something in common on all of our schedules for a change.