Conference Call: Cast of "We Will Schoolhouse Rock You" at The Laurie Beechman Theatre
Growing up, Saturday mornings were my favorite day of the week! Mostly because I did not have to go to school, but also because Saturday morning cartoons were on. From The Smurfs to Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends to Schoolhouse Rock! I was glued to the TV every Saturday morning.
Schoolhouse Rock! has continued to stay with me into adulthood. Now, Schoolhouse Rock! is celebrating it's 45th Anniversary and to celebrate We Will Schoolhouse Rock You will be presented at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC on Sunday, May 6 at 7pm & 9:30pm! Click here for tickets!
We Will Schoolhouse Rock You will feature Michael “You’re Gonna Hate This” Holland (multi-award-winning performer & composer Hurricane, You’re Gonna HATE This), New York’s favorite Know-It-All Rob Maitner (Urinetown, Fairy Tales, FreakMe), “The Chocolate Dreamboat” Forest VanDyke (International Vocal Group Teatro), “Loud Mouth” Lucia Spina (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Les Miserables), Gabrielle “Jazz Hands” Stravelli (MAC & Bistro Award Winner, US State Department Jazz Ambassador), and voted Most Fun At Prom, 10-time MAC Award Winning cabaret artist Lennie Watts.
We Will Schoolhouse Rock You is Directed by Lucia Spina, Musical Direction by Michael Holland, and Hosted by Rob Maitner.
1. On May 6, you will be celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Schoolhouse Rock with the concert We Will Schoolhouse You. What are you looking forward to most about mounting this concert?
"Loud Mouth" Lucia Spina: The songs and cartoons were a vital part of my childhood, and then I had the great privilege of performing in the musical Schoolhouse Rock Live! for many years as well as being a member of the original cast of Schoolhouse Rock Live, Too!. My involvement with the shows brought back great memories and also jumpstarted my career in Chicago. And now, with the recent passing of Bob Dorough, I hope we can honor him and celebrate his great contribution to our musical and scholastic educations.
Michael "You’re Gonna Hate This" Holland: I've always been one of those people who hears the music first, and the lyrics later. As a result, when these cartoons first aired, I knew all the hooks to the songs, but I never learned any of the math bits in particular (I'm one of those rare musicians who can NOT do math; it makes no sense to me at all). So I'm looking forward to finally retaining some times tables as a result of having had to learn the words to the songs!
Voted "Most Fun At Prom" Lennie Watts: I’m looking forward to seeing how the audience responds to these songs that many of us have a huge nostalgic connection to.
Gabrielle "Jazz Hands" Stravelli: I am most looking forward to having the opportunity to honor Bob Dorough and his music through this concert. He was such a wonderful man and a singular talent, and this music had and continues to have a huge impact on kids (and adults!)
"The Chocolate Dreamboat" Forest VanDyke: Honestly, the nostalgia factor. I’m looking forward to seeing the recognition and smiles on people’s faces when we start singing these amazing songs many of us grew up on. These are some classics!
New York’s favorite "Know-It-All" Rob Maitner: The vocal arrangements by Michael Holland are just fabulous! And to get to sing them with the extraordinary cast Lucia has put in place is thrilling.
2. You are going to bring back some great memories for the audience with this concert. What are some of your favorite memories from watching Schoolhouse Rock on TV?
Voted "Most Fun At Prom," Lennie Watts: I just remember how creative the episodes were. I think Schoolhouse Rock! had more to do with me becoming a performer than anything else.
"The Chocolate Dreamboat" Forest VanDyke: Just the feeling of Saturday morning and what it meant. The re-runs of Schoolhouse Rock! would be mixed in with more current cartoons that I loved and all of it meant "comfort and joy" to me.
New York’s favorite "Know-It-All" Rob Maitner: Every Friday night (or sometimes early Saturday morning), my dad would do the grocery shopping for the week. He always bought me a bag of pistachio nuts and a quart of grape juice and that would be my Saturday morning breakfast for YEARS. I'd crack open those nuts, guzzle my juice, howl at the Laff-a-Lympics and groove along to "Interplanet Janet!"
3. One fan favorite song being performed is “Conjunction Junction." The lyrics go "Conjunction Junction what's your function? Hooking up words and phrases and clauses." What is something you believe your talents connect together?
"Loud Mouth" Lucia Spina: Everyone involved in this show is a dear friend of mine that I’ve met through various performing experiences. Not only are they incredible talents BUT also lovely human beings. I either met them via the stage OR the rehearsal room. So, I’d say, I believe my talents have connected me with many wonderful artists, collaborators, friends, idols, opportunities, adventures, AND has made this show possible.
Voted "Most Fun At Prom" Lennie Watts: My love of being seen with actually being seen. :)
Gabrielle "Jazz Hands" Stravelli: I think our talents are going to connect the audience with a lot of fond memories they have from watching the Schoolhouse Rock! programs as kids. This is also a wonderful group of very funny people - we all make each other laugh and that's made the process of working on this even more enjoyable.
"The Chocolate Dreamboat" Forest VanDyke: What I hope my talents do is bring people of different walks of life together. Also, it’s easy to be disconnected from what we feel, so if I can connect people’s minds with their hearts that’s a plus too!
New York’s favorite "Know-It-All" Rob Maitner: I hope that my talent for storytelling connects the audience to the origin story of Schoolhouse Rock! and how it came to shape a generation.
4. Another hit the audience will hear is “I’m Just A Bill.” If you could be the face of any bill, which one would you want to be featured on?
Michael "You’re Gonna Hate This" Holland: I'd say $3 sounds about right, and I don't imagine I'd get many arguments.
Voted "Most Fun At Prom" Lennie Watts: Any bill that doesn’t have the current President’s signature on it.
Gabrielle "Jazz Hands" Stravelli: The $2 bill! I think they're good luck - and who wouldn't like to be a lucky charm!
"The Chocolate Dreamboat" Forest VanDyke: I’d be in support of a bill that abolishes privately owned prison systems. :-)
New York’s favorite "Know-It-All" Rob Maitner: $3. Duh.
5. There is also “Interplanet Janet.” If you could visit any planet other than Earth, which one would you like to go to first?
Michael "You’re Gonna Hate This" Holland: So New York doesn't count? In that case, I'd say a fossil dig on Mars sounds pretty fun.
Gabrielle "Jazz Hands" Stravelli: Saturn.
"The Chocolate Dreamboat" Forest VanDyke: Mars is still considered possibly inhabitable, right? I think I’d like to see what that would be like before everyone ends up moving there.
New York’s favorite "Know-It-All" Rob Maitner: Saturn! Those RINGS!
6. Finally there is “Interjections!” What's your goto interjection to use when you want to show excitement or emotion?
"Loud Mouth" Lucia Spina: WHEEEEEEEE!
Voted "Most Fun At Prom" Lennie Watts: Awesome!!
Gabrielle "Jazz Hands" Stravelli: OMG!
"The Chocolate Dreamboat" Forest VanDyke: Aowwww!!!
New York’s favorite "Know-It-All" Rob Maitner: FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK!