Popular movies being turned into musicals is all the rage in the theatre world these days. It seems no film is “safe” from being adapted into a musical. In fact, adaptation is exactly what happened with School of Rock The Musical, onstage now at Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) under the direction of Laurence Connor.
The fact that the original 2003 film had music of its own is perhaps what made it an easy choice for a stage adaptation- that, plus the fact that it’s a conventional “fish out of water” tale, similar to Sister Act (already made into a musical) and Legally Blonde (also with a stage version). Obviously, this formula works well, especially considering the large crowd at Tuesday’s opening night performance.
While the story may not be particularly “fresh” or “new,” it is undoubtedly entertaining, especially when paired with the engaging original score by none other than Andrew Lloyd Webber.
For those not familiar with the tale, it follows Dewey Finn (Rob Colletti), a failed rockstar who mooches off of his best friend Ned (Matt Bittner). Ned’s girlfriend Patty (Emily Borromeo) gets sick of the mooching and forces her boyfriend to throw Dewey out if he can’t come up with the rent he owes. Finding himself in a desperate situation, Dewey does a desperate thing. He poses as Ned and takes on the job of a substitute teacher at an elite prep school.
At the school, Dewey becomes aware that his young students possess musical talent. Immediately, he starts using class time to form the kids into a band, one that he hopes will bring him fame and recognition at the Battle of the Bands contest.
Hilarity ensues as Dewey and the kids form their band. Dewey’s initial clashes with the bossy Summer (Ava Briglia) and his struggle to understand the quiet Tomika (Gianna Harris), along with his other interactions with the kids, provide some of the funnier and most endearing moments of the show. Briglia, it must be said, really stands out among the young performers, lending a warmth and an assuredness to her character that seems beyond her years.
As Dewey’s relationship with his class/band progresses, viewers get a glimpse into the students’ home lives and the problems they face with their parents. These moments are very telling and add a note of depth and thoughtfulness to the comedy.
The show moves along quickly, peppered with several musical highlights, such as “When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock” and “You’re in the Band.” Aside from the fun music and engaging choreography, however, Colletti’s performance is real standout. He creates a Dewey who is a true “lovable loser.” Colletti is both funny and tender in all the right places and is the perfect pick for the lead.
While the story wraps up in a predictable way, it’s still a fun journey to the end, and the show itself makes for a fun evening of theatre that anyone (age 6 and up per DPAC‘s policy for this show) can enjoy.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents SCHOOL OF ROCK: THE MUSICAL at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 and 30, 8 p.m. Dec. 1, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 2, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco Historic District.
TICKETS: $30 and up, plus taxes and fees. Click here for DPAC Special Offers.
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/where-to-buy.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or https://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/2247288.
GROUP RATES (15+ tickets): 919/281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events-tickets/group-services.
SHOW: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/school-of-rock and https://www.facebook.com/events/330596500727154/.
VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=t4VASf8yeIU.
DPAC NEWS RELEASE: https://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/school-of-rock-on-sale-august-26-at-10-am.
DPAC‘S 2017-18 “TEN GREAT YEARS” SUNTRUST BROADWAY SERIES: https://www.dpacnc.com/suntrust-broadway-series-2017-18 and https://www.dpacnc.com/news/detail/announcing-suntrust-broadway-at-dpac-2017-2018-season.
THE TOUR: https://ustour.schoolofrockthemusical.com/, https://www.ibdb.com/tour-production/school-of-rock–the-musical–514770, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_of_Rock_(musical)#U.S._Tour_.282017.29.
TOUR CAST & CREATIVE: https://ustour.schoolofrockthemusical.com/cast-creative/.
STUDY GUIDE: https://us.schoolofrockthemusical.com/assets/education/SOR US Education Guide.pdf.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/, https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC, https://twitter.com/DPAC, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durham_Performing_Arts_Center.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2nd, performance.
School of Rock (2003 film): https://www.facebook.com/SchoolofRockMovie (official website), http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/450121/School-of-Rock/ (Turner Classic Movies), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332379/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_of_Rock (Wikipedia).
School of Rock: The Musical (2015 Broadway and 2016 West End musical): https://schoolofrockthemusical.com/ (official website), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-show/school-of-rock–the-musical-498972 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_of_Rock_(musical) (Wikipedia).
Andrew Lloyd Webber (music): https://www.andrewlloydwebber.com/ (official website), https://ustour.schoolofrockthemusical.com/creative/andrew-lloyd-webber/ (tour bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/andrew-lloyd-webber-12073 (Internet Broadway Database), https://www.britannica.com/biography/Andrew-Lloyd-Webber-Baron-Lloyd-Webber-of-Sydmonton (Encyclopædia Britannica), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Lloyd_Webber (Wikipedia).
Glenn Slater (lyrics): https://ustour.schoolofrockthemusical.com/creative/glenn-slater/ (tour bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/glenn-slater-80644 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Slater (Wikipedia).
Julian Fellowes (book): https://www.julianfellowesbelgravia.com/ (official website), https://ustour.schoolofrockthemusical.com/creative/julian-fellowes/ (tour bio), https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/julian-fellowes-408507 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Fellowes (Wikipedia).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.