Written by Regina Sanders. Media by Hengyi Chi.
During the month of January, St. Louis bore witness to the rock ‘n’ roll spectacle that was “School of Rock.”
Based on the 2003 film starring Jack Black, the musical follows the main character, Dewey Finn. Finn, a rockstar at heart, gets kicked out of his band and then goes to live with his best friend, Ned Schneebly. When Schneebly and his girlfriend demand money for rent, Finn takes a chance and impersonates Schneebly. Posing as a substitute at Horace Green School, Finn forms a band with his students, and they begin to prepare for the battle of the bands. All the while, each student learns something about themselves during their time with Finn as their teacher.
*Minor spoiler alerts ahead.
“The musical was unexpected! I really enjoyed it because I like rock music,” theatre-goer Raven Sanders commented as she left the theatre. “I am a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work.”
The musical features the same beloved music from the movie and Andrew Lloyd Webber (known for his hit musicals such as “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Cats”, and “The Phantom of the Opera”) adds 14 new songs. Julian Fellowes (known for “Mary Poppins,” “Downton Abbey,” and “Gypsy”) contributes to the musical with his writing and Glenn Slater (“Love Never Dies” and “Leap of Faith”) is credited with the lyrics.
The show was non-stop fun. A voice introduced the production informing the audience that the often-asked question after each viewing is “Did the kids really play the instruments that were seen on stage?” Just before the lights dimmed for the first actor, the audience was given their answer; the adolescent cast do indeed play their own instruments.
For this particular performance, Merritt David Janes took over for Rob Colletti, who normally plays the role of Dewey, and he did not disappoint. The show offered many comedic moments stemming from Dewey’s incompetence as a substitute teacher and his attempts to educate the children on rock ‘n’ roll history. The show also had moments that left the audience standing on their feet in applause. This show featured something for everyone with musical references ranging from Kanye West to Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks to AC/DC. Summer (Ava Briglia), Tomika (Gianna Harris), Zack (Phoenix Schuman), and the rest of the students performed brilliantly, adding high-energy to the production.
“You couldn’t help but want the kids to have their moment in the sun. It was satisfying to watch them accept themselves for their talents and abilities,” exclaimed Rebekah Sanders.
“School of Rock” is currently touring across cities in the United States. Totaling a length of 2 hours and 32 minutes, the show played its run at the Fabulous Fox Theatre from Jan. 16 to Jan. 28. It will move from the Fox to the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston, Texas.
If you find yourself unable to travel to a show, or you just want to relive the movie, you can find a television adaptation of the hit story on the channel Nickelodeon. The two-time Emmy nominated show is currently in its third season.