News: “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” Returns to Civic (also a brief word about “Annie”)

Guess what? The Indianapolis Civic Theatre’s production of “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” is coming back for a week in October with the original cast from last April!   You know me: I don’t usually get excited about shows for kids but I am excited about this one because of who is in it.   The cast includes Phillip Armstrong, Craig Underwood, Diane Tsao Boehm, Mark Fishback, and Rebecca DeVries McConnell (seen left to right in photo above) plus Claire Wilcher.   I was sorry to have missed this production last April.  October is going to be a crazy-busy month, but I would like to take advantage of this second chance, if I can.

Below is the press release that Margaret Henney of the Three-Sixty Group sent me for this show.  (Margaret is Civic’s PR coordinator):


Indianapolis Children’s Theatre Gathers Original Cast for Encore Production of Schoolhouse Rock Live!

Local students get a second chance to “Rock” out Oct. 11-16

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 22, 2010) – The Indianapolis Children’s Theatre – an arm of Civic Theatre – will revive its wildly successful production of Schoolhouse Rock Live!, a staged adaptation of the ABC cartoon series, Schoolhouse Rock!,  that became a educational pop-culture phenomenon. The show, which was first staged by the Indianapolis Children’s Theatre in April, is back by popular demand for one week only, running Oct. 11-16 on the Civic Theatre stage on the campus of Marian University (3200 Cold Spring Road). 

“The response from our previous production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! was so great that we have remounted with the same cast and crew for another run,” said Brent Marty who is co-directing the show with Holly Stults.

The popular television series, which the stage production is based upon, was the brainchild of David McCall. He, along with George Newall and Tom Yohe, created the series of animated musical short films as a way to educate children on subjects like grammar, math, history and science. The films aired on ABC during Saturday morning children’s programming between 1973 and 1999.

“This is really a perfect show for young students and families,” said Marty. “Children love the catchy tunes and dynamic staging while teachers enjoy the educational aspects of the material and seeing their students learn while having a great time at a live theatrical performance. Even adults love the show, re-living a little bit of their childhood when they hear great songs like ‘Conjunction Junction’ and ‘Lolly, Lolly, Lolly.’”

Performances for school groups are schedule for Monday, Oct. 11 – Friday, Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. daily. All performances are open to the public, including two shows on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Schoolhouse Rock Live! tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and $8 for school groups. One free chaperone ticket is provided for every 10 tickets purchased. Study guides are available to all teachers. Tickets can be purchased by calling Civic Theatre’s Box Office at 317.923.4597 or by visiting Civic’s website at

Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre is the largest of more than 70 community theaters in Indiana. It is also one of the 10 largest active community theaters in the United States and is considered to be one of the nation’s longest continuously operating community theaters. The theatre has been a vital part of the city’s cultural landscape, serving audiences and cast and crew members from Indianapolis, Avon, Brownsburg, Carmel, Fishers, Greenfield, Greenwood, Noblesville, Westfield, Zionsville and communities throughout Central Indiana for 95 years. In the fall of 2011, Civic will move its theatre and operations to the Regional Performing Arts Center, located in Carmel, where it will be the principal resident theatre company of the Tarkington Theater, a new 500-seat state-of-the-art proscenium theater.


I also want to apologize:  I went to see “Annie” at Civic on Sunday, September 12, on a media pass but I was not able to write a review of the show within a week, which is what I promise when I accept media passes.  And worse, the show’s run ended on Saturday, September 25, 2010. 

So…I am sending a check for $32 to Civic instead, which is what they charge for one ticket to a weekend performance of a musical.   I know that this is not the same as keeping my promise, but it is the best I can do at this point.

I’ll also just add quickly that the girl who played Annie, Nina Samaan, was a sweetie:


(The photo above is of Nina as Annie, with her faithful dog Sandy, played by Scout Woodburn, on loan from Civic Theatre supporters Sharon and Terry Woodburn.  Photo provided by Margaret Henney.)

But even more than I enjoyed Nina and the other children in the show, I enjoyed the adult actors.  I wish I had photos of them to share, too.   This was a solid production of an always crowd-pleasing show, but for me it was a special delight to see performers whose work I already loved take on new roles.  That is a pleasure in any production, of course, but it just seemed to be a special treat in this one:

  • To see Dan Scharbrough as the intimidating yet completely trustworthy Daddy Warbucks in this piece after he played the deceptively warm and truly creepy, abusive uncle in Carmel Community Players’ “Learning How to Drive” this past summer.
  • To see Mikayla Anne Reed as Daddy Warbuck’s gentle and refined assistant, Grace Farrell, after she played a feisty, street-smart nun from Brooklyn in Actors’ Theatre of Indiana’s production of “Nunsense” this past March.
  • To see veteran actor Tom Beeler return to the stage as President Franklin D. Roosevelt after playing a more modern president’s “yes man” in “November” at the Phoenix Theatre in 2008.
  • Or to see Civic’s Director of Music and Education, Brent Marty, play silky-smooth radio celebrity Bert Healy.  I have enjoyed Brent’s work as a director several times, and have enjoyed hearing him play the piano and sing on more than one occasion, but I think the only other time I have seen him act a part on stage is when he played the hilarious title role in “Die! Mommy!  Die!” at Theatre on the Square in 2008.

These are just a few examples.

I hope to get back into my write-within-a-week rhythm soon.  In the pipe right now are reviews of a fun storytelling event last weekend (plus news of ghost story events coming up) and a review of Broadway Across America’s “Mary Poppins” at the Murat Theatre.  (It was oh, so delightful!)

‘See you at the theatres!

Hope Baugh – and

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