The Homestead Playhouse rocks the schoolhouse in Scottsdale

Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. (photo by DC Ranch)

Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. (photo by DC Ranch)

When the actors in “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” take the stage in November for The Homestead Playhouse’s fall production, they will have learned much more than their lines and choreography.

Based on the Emmy Award-winning educational animated series of the 1970s, the play’s songs cleverly incorporate lessons on grammar, math, history, civics and science. But there’s a lot more going on.

For one thing, it’s a true ensemble production—unlike most plays, there are no leads; the 31 performers each have speaking roles and solos. They range in age from 7-13 years old; 12 of them are performing in their first play at DC Ranch, while 19 are veterans (some have been in plays here for six years).

It’s the first Playhouse production for director Lindsay Vanegas, who has been working with the actors to create a group dynamic where everyone is important. She loves the energy and enthusiasm of the group.

“They have lots of ideas and it’s challenging to make sure every idea is heard and recognized,” stated Ms. Vanegas in a press release. “We have a special time at the end of each practice where the actors acknowledge each other’s hard work and contributions. It builds a pattern of gratitude and recognition that is sometimes hard to find outside of the theatre world.”

What else are they learning? Great life skills: teamwork, acceptance of others, and the importance of being kind, being prepared, and being accountable. Plus making learning personal. When the group rehearsed a song about the Preamble to the Constitution, they paused for 20 minutes to talk about what the Constitution and the freedoms of assembly, religion, and speech mean to their daily lives.

Ms. Vanegas is proud of how dedicated the actors are to the process, and how kind and caring they are.

“It’s rare to come into a place where kids treat each other with this level of respect,” she stated in the release. Their commitment is no small thing: the actors will log more than 100 hours of time over the 12 weeks of practice.

The casts’ favorite songs include “Unpack Your Adjectives” and “Conjunction Junction”—they are lively, fun and colorful songs with catchy tunes. But be warned: they are also addicting and could pose an “ear worm” song threat to listeners.

Performance dates are to be 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 19-21, and 3 p.m. on Nov. 22. The Homestead Playhouse is located 18600 N. 98th St. in Scottsdale.

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