BWW Reviews: SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! The Sing Along Production
If you have seen the current performance of Schoolhouse Rock Live! at The Coterie, you should see it. If you have not seen it and are 13 years old or older treat yourself to one of the funniest shows in Kansas City. The best production of The Coterie season gets even better on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. when it is transformed to a teen-adult sing-along presentation.
Though the majority of the show is seen at any of the all ages production, a few changes occur which add to the hilarity of the show. Listen to the characters to catch words or phrases that move the show to a mild adult presentation. Additionally Emily Shackleford, who plays Dori, and Javier Villegas, who plays George, perform a song, while on skates, about the figure it. This song makes a second visit to the show a must see.
Based on the ABC-TV educational animated series, The Coterie production directed by Ron Megee includes marvelous choreography designed by Missy Koonce. The production stars Emily Shackelford, Shelby Floyd, Seth M. Jones, Martin Buchanan, and Francisco Javier Villegas. Far into the future a classroom of students and their teacher land on the planet Pop Culture, a planet filled with items discarded from earth. The audience quickly learns that each item teaches a lesson, about verbs, the number three, or "Interplanet Janet" among a large array of other topics.
Emily Shackelford plays Dori, one of the students on the space field trip. She is one of the most energetic performers in Kansas City, and she never disappoints. As if her voice were not enough her body language and facial expressions are exceptional. Shelby and she perform Interplanet Janet and as you listen to how marvelously their voices blend, you wonder why there is not a CD.
Shelby Floyd plays the other female student, Shulie. She has a dazzling voice whether she is singing about a noun or about women's rights to vote with, "Sufferin' Till Suffrage". She is such a talent that it is easy to see why Egads Theatre Company starred her in a solo production of Tell Me on a Sunday.
The teacher and leader of this highly talented expedition is Mr. E, played by Martin Buchanan. His performance is fabulous as he dances around the stage, while teaching his class and the audience. He previously has appeared at the Coterie in Lyle the Crocodile, Night of the Dead, and Slashdance. One of his best performances came with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre production of The Foreigner.
Seth M. Jones as Tom and Francisco Javier Villegas as George complete the cast. Both actors have superb voices and a good sense of comedic timing. Together they performed a brilliant production of "Just A Bill," with Seth manipulating the puppet, which resembles rolled papers tied with a ribbon. Seth makes his Coterie debut and Villegas has appeared at the Coterie in The Wiz and Red Badge Variations.
Schoolhouse Rock Live! continues at The Coterie through May 18. Purchase tickets at The Coterie Theatre website or call the box office at 816-474-6552 for additional information. Photo by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of The Coterie Theatre.