The Herald Bulletin

March 19, 2010

AHS rocking to 'Schoolhouse Rock Live!'

Kids TV fixture adapted for a stage musical

By Emily Lawson, The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — With the end of the school year quickly approaching, Anderson High School Performing Arts students are springing into a favorite pastime.

With the help of their director of six years, Tiffany Jackson, the group of 12 is putting on a musical, “Schoolhouse Rock Live!”

The show is based on the 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series that taught grammar, math, science and other subjects through songs such as “Do the Circulations” or “A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing.”

The creative bunch at Anderson High School has been prepping for the three-day performance since last year.

“We’ve been planning a musical since last spring,” Jackson said. “But we didn’t begin rehearsals until January.

“Since then, it’s been practice, practice, and more practice.”

The teens have been singing and dancing their hearts out every Monday through Thursday for a couple hours after school.

Drama Club President Amanda Benagh, 17, said she doesn’t mind the hard work. Repetition, she said, is key to a successful show.

“Personally, I had only heard a couple Schoolhouse Rock songs before being cast for this musical,” she said. “Practice is always important but this time around, I think it’s essential.”

Benagh, a junior at AHS, has been involved in several high school plays, including last year’s “Grease” where she played the role of Sandy.

Featuring 21 of the 46 original “Schoolhouse Rock” songs, the production is split into six main parts.

For Dale Perkins, 17, who plays George, the cast must pay extra attention to the songs because of their popularity.

“These songs are pieces much of our audience are familiar with,” Perkins said. “Because of that, we have to make sure we get everything right. If we mess up, there’s really no recovery. ... Too many people are familiar with the music.”

Although the pressure is on, Jackson says the musical is mainly about the experience of performing and simply having fun.

“I really enjoy theater. I enjoy the kids, this school and this community,” she said. “That’s something I want to pass on to the kids I teach.”

According to Perkins, Jackson has succeeded in her efforts, but she hasn’t done it alone.

“I’ve met a lot of great people through doing these productions,” he said. “I’ve had fun and I’ve really enjoyed every moment of it, I feel like I’ve learned a lot, not only from Ms. Jackson, but from the other theater kids, too.”