BWW Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK THE MUSICAL Brings a Rocking Time To Broadway Grand Rapids, With It's Impressive Young Musicians!
School of Rock - The Musical is based on the movie by the same name originally staring Jack Black is currently playing at DeVos Performance Hall until January 13thin Grand Rapids. Andrew Lloyd Webber added some songs and made it a musical. One part that people find hard to believe is that the kids in the show must be able to play the instruments live. The kids can sing and dance, but it is taken to another level when they are playing instruments better than most adults can perform live on stage, show after show, some of them learning their instruments in only a few years or specifically for their audition for this show!
The musical begins with a performance by the fictional band, No Vacancy. The band's guitarist, Dewey Finn (Merritt David Janes) repeatedly attempts to upstage the lead singer, which leads to the band agreeing to kick him out after leaving the stage. The next morning, Dewey is awoken in his bedroom by his longtime friend, Ned (Layne Roate) and Ned's girlfriend Patty (Madison Micucci) demanding rent. When they leave Dewey goes about his day, in which he gets fired from his job at a record store, while dreaming about getting his break and becoming a superstar.
Down on his luck, Dewey receives a call from Rosalie Mullins (Lexi Dorsett Sharp), principal of the prestigious Horace Green School. She asks to speak to Ned, saying that the school has an open substitute teacher position that will pay over nine hundred dollars a week, enough to meet the rent, so, he pretending to be Ned, accepts the position. At Horace Green, Rosalie does her best to keep everything running smoothly while greeting parents who come to drop off their children, then Dewey arrives late hungover and unprepared, as principal warns that he will be expected to meet the school's high standards.
Dewey enters his classroom and introduces himself as Mr. Schneebly. The students are suspicious of him, and Summer (Sami Bray) attempts to explain to him how the classes run. The next day at school, Dewey hears music coming from one of the classrooms and learns that his students are in music class with Rosalie. He ask them what instruments they play, then tells them that they're now a part of his new band and will be competing compete in the Battle of the Bands. Lead Guitarist Zack (Mystic Inscho) on electric guitar, Katie (Leanne Parks) on bass, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) on keyboard, and Freddy (Cameron Trueblood) on drums, Shonelle (Arianna Pereira), Marcy (Alyssa Emily Marvin) backup singers, Tomika (Grier Burke) the lead singer, Sophie (Gabriella Uhl) roadies, Mason (Julian Brescia) in charge of lights, James (Jacob Moran) security officer, Billy (Sammy Dell) is made the band's stylist, and Summer the band's manager.
The moving number of the night comes in a scene when we get a brief glance into each of the kids home lives. Freddy tells his father about the music he was assigned to listen to, but his father belittles him, saying that he's not smart like the other children at Horace Green. In another part of town, Billy is reading a style magazine disguised as Sports Illustrated due to pressure from his father to take up football. Elsewhere, Tomika tells her fathers that she's not making friends or doing well in her new school, but her parents dismiss her since they love Horace Green, lastly Zack attempts to talk to his father about his day, but his father is on a business call and shouts at Zack for trying to speak to him, telling him to go away. Frustrated Zack, Tomika, Billy, Freddy, and the other students go into the song that was done in a split screen style staging "If Only You Would Listen." venting about how they have so much to tell and offer their parents and the world, but they just won't listen to them yet.
The band continues practicing Dewey's song "In the End of Time," after playing, Dewey tells everyone they're doing great. However, Zack is playing in an uptight and rigid manner, and Dewey says that Zack needs to get angry at "the man" in order to really rock. He explains that the man is responsible for everything wrong with the world, they get angry and shout about how they're going to "Stick it To the Man."
Other song highlights include "Teachers Pet," a song Zach wrote and then they end up playing in the battle of the bands. The lighting was electrifying during the battle of bands scenes because it would make you feel like you were at true rock concert and you almost wanted to stand up and rock and cheer with the band as they were rocking their hearts out 100% live on stage. Sound and music for this were completely on par of live touring music concerts I have attended in the past and the mix was right where I wanted it - keeping in mind a band can be a tricky mix for anyone who does not know much about the technical aspects. Costumes made me think I was at the prep school, as well as there was very detailed, yet simple set. Huge moving walls and plenty of small pieces which the kids did a very good job of moving for the business that was going on a few of those changes, that showed their professionalism and skill in the show.
Mystic can sure play that electric guitar, Leanne her bass, Theo the keys, and Cameron on drums. So come see Dewey, Zack, Lawrence, Freddy, Katie, Summer, Billy and the rest of the kids of Horace Green rock out the stage, sing there hearts out and even tug on yours, and see if they can win battle of the bands! This is also a very family friendly show, so bring the kids, they will enjoy it as well.
Tickets can be purchased online at: https://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/jc9iig Broadway Grand Rapids Presentation of School of Rock runs:
Friday, January 11, 2019 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, January 12, 2019 - 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sunday, January 13, 2019 - 1:00 PM and 6:30 PM
Connect with The First National Tour for School of Rock at https://www.ustour.schoolofrockthemusical.com, on Twitter at @sormusical, on Instagram at @sormusical, and on Facebook at facebook.com/schoolofrockmusical
Connect with Broadway Grand Rapids for complete info on School of Rock and the rest of the season at www.broadwaygrandrapids.com, on Twitter at @BroadwayGR, on Instagram at @broadwaygr, and on Facebook at facebook.com/BroadwayGR