LUMBERTON — Growing up, Kendrix Singletary’s Saturday mornings consisted of a balanced breakfast of cartoons, learning and rock and roll.
Singletary, now resident director at the Carolina Civic Center, hopes to give local kids a taste of that experience with a special performance of “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” The performance, which will take place at the Carolina Civic Center on Friday and Saturday 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., is based off of the award-winning ABC Saturday morning cartoon series entitled “Schoolhouse Rock!,” which ran from 1973 to 1985.
Like the original series, the show features lively rock songs designed not only to be catchy but to deliver an educational lesson. Unlike the television show, the live show connects the songs through a single linear story of a young woman who has just started her new job as a teacher and is struggling to find her footing.
The cast is made up of 13 children between the ages of 7 and 17, most of whom are local.
Though the show hasn’t been on the air for years, Singletary, who serves as the Civic Center’s resident artist and production manager, believes it remains relevant to this day.
“I think education, period, is relevant,” Singletary said. “A lot of kids today are not aware of [the cartoon] but the reason I chose the show was because I love it personally. My mother was a school teacher and it was one of the few shows my mother would allow us to watch.”
The show features many of the classics from the program’s 64-episode run, including “Conjunction Junction,” “I’m Just a Bill,” “Do the Circulation,” “Three Is a Magic Number,” and “Interplanet Janet.”
The original television program was born when creator David McCall noticed that one of his sons was having trouble remembering his multiplication tables, yet seemed to have no issue remembering the lyrics to his favorite rock songs.
After recording the song “Three Is a Magic Number,” written by Bob Dorough, McCall pitched the show to ABC for its Saturday morning lineup.
The show was an immediate hit, earning an Emmy Award, and a spin-off in 1995 called “Money Rock,” which dealt specifically with topics related to money management on both the personal and governmental scale.
James Johnson may be reached at 910-272-6144 or on Twitter @JJohnsonRobeson.