Dear Sweat Pea,
I have been somewhat under the weather. What a stupid expression, that. Everybody is always under the weather. If not under the weather, then where. (I'm really not much of a philosopher, am I?)
What I mean is, I have been in a funk. Age creeps up on me - the little creep! Joints I didn't even know I had ache, creak and make me feel a thousand years old. I stand erect and the mirror shows the Elephant Man. Foo!
So, to revive my spirits, I went to theatre in search of something youthful. What did I find? Schoolhouse Rock Live! I should have stayed home and rubbed Ben Gay into my knees.
This uninspired little farrago was apparently a smash hit in the Windy City. I guess the Ill Wind blew this thing thither and I shall never visit the City of Hogbutchers again. (I was there right after Mrs. O'Leary's crafty bovine gave the town the burn it deserved!)
Schoolhouse Rock Live! Well, what to say? You are probably to old to remember, sorry my dear, but during the 1970s ABC television broadcast a series of cartoons with an educational purpose in mind. There were jolly cartoons dealing with grammar, mathematics, history, and so on. The songwriting was fairly crude (though jaunty) and the series ran for over a decade. How would I, your senior by decades, remember this? Obviously, I was the host to all manner of nephews during these years. Nephews for whom the Best of Bugs was probably too sophisticato, but for whom these animated journey's down education lane, were just the thing. I well remember one nephew - from Belize, I believe (didn't I have a far flung family!) - who was especially fond of the song in which the entire preamble to the Constitution was set to music. I have dealt with the history of this long enough.
Some intrepid Chi-Town thespians decided the time was ripe to put these ditties on stage, and so they did, without really making them stage-worthy. Actually, to be precise, they did not find a premise to make them stage-worthy. In the New York production, the protagonist was portrayed by a rodent-like young man, who had all the charm of mid-period Jerry Lewis, with none of the aberrant charm of arrogance. He is immediately surrounded by un-comely boys and girls who regale him with the aforementioned SRL tunes, and all ends in miniature triumph some eighty minutes later. Hurrah.
I had such high hopes and such a yearning to relive those halcyon Gerald Ford-period days, but, alas, the thing was labored and dull. There were some of those cute songs, though. and I noticed that Lynn Ahrens - half of the impressively talented team of Ahrens and Flaherty (Once On This Island) - was the composer and lyricist of some of the better songs. Good for her!
I would warn you off this show, but it has long since closed. (I have it on good authority that is has re-opened in Chicago. Those people simply cannot get enough of a amateurish thing.
Time to have the Lad do the rubdown thing on me. What strong hands and hams he has.
I shall write more - I have seen so much - over the next few days.
All my love.