BWW Album Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK [Deluxe Edition] Rocks With Whimsy and Wit
In celebration of its third year on Broadway, Warner Bros. Records released School of Rock (Original Broadway Cast Recording) [Deluxe Edition]. The cast album remains as delightful and endearing as ever, but this "Deluxe Edition" comes across more as a hackneyed marketing ploy since the only differences are changing the cover art to the current logo design and adding "School of Rock: The Musical (Medley)" by Kurt Hugo Schneider and Kirsten Collins and performed by Collins and VINCINT to the track listing.
A touchstone in Andrew Lloyd Webber's composition career for musicals has always been his ability to write ear-pleasing rock melodies that translate to the musical medium. Paired with lyrics by Glenn Slater, School of Rock's score captivates with whimsy and wit. Songs like "Give Up Your Dream" and parts of "You're in the Band" abound with delicious bite while "When I Climb Rock Mountain" and "Stick It to the Man" exist on the opposite end of the spectrum and electrify with their power to uplift.
Additionally, Alex Brightman's vocals as Dewey fill the album with indefatigable vibrancy. Some three years later, it is still impossible not to love him on the hit tracks from the album. His rock vocals perfectly captivate listeners, and his excitement and joy in creating this role is palpable from start to finish. Likewise, the children give thrilling performances across the album, owning "If Only You Would Listen," "Time to Play," and "School of Rock (Teacher's Pet)." Lastly, Sierra Boggess shines of "Give Up Your Dream" and "Where Did the Rock Go?."
Closing the album is the new track, "School of Rock: The Musical (Medley)" by Kurt Hugo Schneider and Kirsten Collins and performed by Collins and VINCINT. This addition is welcome, but it's not anything to write home about. It succeeds at showcasing the wide appeal of the show and makes for a charming mashup of songs from the show. It has a made for Disney channel feel to it, which will be much appreciated by kids who stumble across it.
With School of Rock preparing to vacate Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre, this re-release of the original cast recording with one additional track is a nice way to celebrate what the show has achieved. Yet, the new packaging and new song are not reason enough to repurchase the recording if one already owns it.