All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Grace Duah , a student at West Springfield High School , reviews Oakcrest School’s ‘Schoolhouse Rock Live’as part of the Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

HOORAY! Shouted the audience and the cast during the song “Interjection” at Oakcrest School’s performance of School House Rock Live! Classics like the “Preamble” and “Conjunction Junction” filled the theater with a delightful ambiance that lifted the room transformed everyone into children lost in the beauty of youthful discovery.

Branching over a variety of educational topics including math and grammar, School House Rock was a beloved televised miniseries that originally aired during the early 1970s. The musical itself delves into the mind of Sandy, a new elementary school teacher nervous for her first day at work. While watching television, School House Rock begins and before her eyes different aspects of her personality take form and help her plan her upcoming lesson by recreating the songs from the iconic show.

The combination of extra aesthetic moments and audience participation drove Oakcrest’s production home. The actresses danced through the crowd and on stage, each having small quirky moments that helped to further the enjoyment of the show. The true kicker, however, was the audience participation. Throughout the play the Oakcrest girls involved the audience as much as possible without it feeling overdone and excessive. The audience lit up as the girls traveled through the aisles, focusing their attention on and engaging them in either song or dance.

Lead, Ann Esmond, was endearing as her character Sandy transitioned through various conflicting emotions until all that remained was excitement. Her expressions despite an almost repetitive nature were consistently engaged and flowed nicely in whatever situation she found herself.

Majority of the ensemble made clear strong character choices that helped sell not only their part, but the ensemble as a whole.  Even when faced with technical difficulties the cast plowed on and kept their smiles bright and their movements peppy, keeping the audience connected to the show.

At the same time some actresses stood out above the rest. Sophia Buono, Brigid Kilner, and Madeleine Lucas all made extremely clear choices and never lost character or energy. Whenever Madeleine Lucas or Sophia Buono was on stage they radiated energy and excitement leaving the audience drawn to them. Anytime Brigid Kilner was on stage the audience ended up roaring with laughter. These girls, despite their small roles, brought something fresh and riveting to the performance.

The tech aspects were effective--especially the set, which did a quality job of displaying different aspects of Sandy through small posters and art. The lighting was always on cue and added a youthful vibe to the show. Costumes were largely effective and for the most part helped to clearly define the characters. Despite multiple sound difficulties, the sound person did an admirable job of working with over twenty wireless microphones a feat not usually attempted by high school.

We, the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union establish...that Oakcrest School did a lovely job of putting a new life into this childhood classic!