Richard Linklater’s 2003 film, School of Rock is actually one of my favorite films. It’s the type of film for me that I have to watch if I see it on television. The cast, the music, the heart - there's so much about that film that I adore. So, when I was given the opportunity to attend School of Rock: The Musical on Broadway, I jumped at the chance. I hoped it would have that same wonderful spirit that the film embodied. Thankfully, it does! School of Rock: The Musical is a fun, heartwarming, and thoroughly entertaining time at the theater!
School of Rock: The Musical is described as "a hilarious new musical that follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. While teaching these pint-sized prodigies what it means to truly rock, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress, helping her rediscover the wild child within."
Since the musical takes place at a school, perhaps the most important aspect of the show is the performance of the children. Honestly, this wonderfully diverse cast does not disappoint. And they all play their instruments throughout the show! They are immensely talented on stage and even more impressive off stage. During a Q&A after the performance, the young actors discussed the various instruments they play. Several of the actors shared that they actually learned instruments just for the show! In addition, the consensus was that the most impactful song is a song ("If Only You Would Listen") that reveals the backstories of all the children. It's a highlight, and they are truly the heart of School of Rock. I will say that I didn't find the show suitable for children my daughter's age, due to some language and content. The film was PG-13, so use that as a guide.
It’s tough to follow in the footsteps of a personality like Jack Black’s, especially with his distinctive vernacular and mannerisms, but Merritt David Janes does a really nice job of portraying Dewey Finn. I was particularly pleased to see that the role of Rosalie Mullins was fleshed out in the musical and Jenn Gambatese is delightful as the head of Horace Green School.
School of Rock: The Musical features music from the movie, as well as an original score by the incomparable Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, who "is funding an initiative to support theatre education opportunities for underserved young people and under-resourced public schools throughout the United States. With a $1.3 million three-year grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the American Theatre Wing is funding the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative."
School of Rock: The Musical was also nominated for four 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, and Best Leading Actor in a Musical.
So, make your way to the Winter Garden Theater to check out this fantastic show! Ticket prices are as low as $59! Orchestra seats are as low as $89!
Visit schoolofrockthemusical.com to learn more and to book tickets!
DISCLOSURE: In exchange for an honest review, I received show tickets at no cost.