Get ready to rock! Based on the hit 2003 movie of the same name, School of Rock began jamming out on the stage in front of live audiences in 2015. This irresistible rock musical by Broadway great Andrew Lloyd Webber follows the antics of down-and-out wannabe rock star Dewey Finn as he deviously lands a gig substitute teaching at an esteemed prep school. Dewey convinces his fifth-grade students to form a rock band in an endeavor to bring home the top prize at the Battle of the Bands competition. A guitarist and former heavy metal band member himself, Dewey encourages his kids’ musical talents and helps them to have some fun and find purpose in their otherwise uptight and rigorous academic-conscious education. School of Rock is a high-octane smash hit that will have audiences singing and dancing in their seats!
Meet Dewey Finn: a guitarist who just got kicked out of his rock band, is recently unemployed, generally unmotivated, and now hard up for cash to pay his rent. Faced with his roommates’ ultimatum – find a way to cough up his portion of the lease or get packing – Dewey covertly accepts a lucrative substitute teaching job at a prestigious prep school, posing as his friend and housemate Ned.
Disguised as Ned, Dewey fails to make a good first impression on Principal Rosalie Mullins as he arrives painfully late and underprepared for his first day of teaching at Horace Green School. Both Rosalie and Dewey’s class of 13 fifth graders impress upon him that there are extremely high standards to maintain at this school, and everyone is instantly wary of Dewey’s educational aptitudes – or lack thereof.
Despite a rocky start to his stint at Horace Green, Dewey discovers that his class is full of musical prodigies and gets an idea – what if his class formed a rock band and could show up his own former bandmates at the upcoming Battle of the Bands competition? Ditching their cellos for electric bass and grand pianos for electric keyboards, the students soon embrace this covert rock band idea, and the School of Rock is born. Complete with backup singers, roadies, stylists and lighting technicians, Dewey’s new band has the perfect role to showcase the unique talents of each and every one of his students. There’s only one problem: Dewey’s band lessons don’t exactly stick to the rigorous curriculum of Horace Green, so the kids agree to help their teacher keep the project under wraps.
The musical explores the students’ home lives and their parents’ unreasonably high expectations for their children, who, more than anything, just want the chance to be kids – the rock band gives them the chance to let loose and do just that. Dewey introduces the kids to classic rock legends like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Who and Black Sabbath, whose music inspires their own performances and teaches them how to have some fun while expressing their creativity.
Dewey’s job isn’t all fun and games, however, as he has to navigate activities like faculty meetings and parents’ night without the slightest clue as to what he’s doing. Discovering her inner rock goddess and passion for Stevie Nicks, Dewey falls for Principal Mullins and persuades her into letting his students take a field trip to participate in the epic Battle of the Bands. How do the kids stack up against the competition? Does Dewey get unmasked as a fraud? And what do the kids’ parents think about it all? Book your tickets for School of Rock now with BroadwayToday and discover how the story ends in person!
While there have been other Broadway musicals to have children as central characters – think Matilda or Annie, for example – no other show has embraced the talents of young actor-musicians in quite the way that School of Rock does. The kids who star in this show are real triple-threats: they sing, they dance, and they shred the guitar. So unbelievably talented are these kids that the audience listens to a pre-show announcement by Andrew Lloyd Webber reassuring them that all the mini-musicians are actually playing live music on the stage, as spectators often cannot believe their eyes and ears. The actors who portray the students are all between 9 and 12 years old and rock out so hard on the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums spectators are instantly blown away. Many young audience members have been so impressed by the musical talent they witness on stage that they get inspired to take up music lessons of their own! In a world which can be so digitally focused, where kids are constantly glued to phone screens and video games, it is refreshing to experience the raw talent of School of Rock’s youngest cast members.
Music & Cast
School of Rock is another work by musical genius Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes. Webber penned 14 new songs for the show, which also includes all the fan-favorite tunes from the movie, so this well-rounded musical has a great balance of heavy metal songs the audience expects from the movie blended with some more theatrical numbers that are more in tune with a typical Broadway musical. But fret not – School of Rock never gets overly sappy in a musical theater sort of way, and, in the words of Dewey Finn himself, still has a very healthy dose of “face-melting” guitar riffs. Merritt David Janes channels his inner Jack Black and does a fantastic job starring as Dewey alongside Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Principal Rosalie Mullins, while Sami Bray portrays Summer, Grier Burke plays Tomika, Mystic Inscho embodies Zack, and Sammy Dell personifies Billy.
Fans of the movie will certainly not be disappointed by School of Rock’s musical adaptation! Take it from the original Dewey Finn, Jack Black, who says of the Broadway performance: “I laughed. I cried. I rocked.” The Broadway show has been nominated for a bevy of awards, including 4 Tony Awards, 5 Drama Desk Awards, an Outer Critics Circle Award, 6 Broadway.com Audience Awards, and 2 Drama League Awards, while its West End counterpart received a Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music. Entertainment Weekly touts the show as “an inspiring jolt of energy, joy and mad skillz!”
Where To Watch
School of Rock opened on Broadway in December 2015 at the Winter Garden Theatre and closed after over 1,300 performances in January 2019. The musical also debuted in London in November 2016 and is still running in the West End today. As of 2017, fans across the United States have countless opportunities to see School of Rock as it tours around the country, and audiences in Australia and throughout Asia are currently enjoying its international tour. Come let these talented pint-sized musicians knock your socks off live – reserve your tickets for School of Rock now with BroadwayToday!
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