BWW Review: TIME FOR ADULTS TO GET SCHOOLED: DEIDRE LANG at Clowes Memorial Hall
We had the privilege of speaking with Deidre Lang, who plays Ms. Sheinkopf in the upcoming touring production of School of Rock, and she had quite a few reasons why we all need to go back to school. She reflected with us on what this show can mean as something beyond a musical, which predominantly features kids, and how it can speak to us as adults.
We began by getting to know more of Ms. Lang's background, and while she seems uniquely qualified to play this role as both a mom and a former dance teacher, she came upon this role through simple happenstance. She had been working on a show in Las Vegas to be close to family but was ready to move on to new challenges. She reached out to a former show choreographer, and the rest fell into place. She has now spent a year and a half with this production.
Ms. Lang drew upon a variety of sources to build her character of Ms. Sheinkopf. She says a middle school teacher she had helped inspire her stern demeanor and approach, which is balanced by a true love of children and a devotion to their success. When asked if she would want her own children to have her character as an actual teacher, she readily replied, "I know where she is coming from" and "I would love my kids to have a teacher like me."
Since she in some ways stumbled upon the show, and mostly relied on background from the film years ago, we were curious what surprised her about it after she joined the company. Her key point was simple: "It definitely has a good story to it." But beyond that, she says there is a message within it that it's all about the kids. She sums it up by saying, "Just because they're kids, don't brush them off." This message is important to her as a parent and important to adults at large. We could all take a moment to step back and invest some time in letting the kids have their say.
After learning the nuances of the show, it would seem difficult to keep a role fresh when it has been over a year. Ms. Lang tries to draw mostly on the comedic side of her character. She enjoys "changing it up" and hunts for "those moments to laugh at yourself." She prides herself on being able to surprise even her fellow cast members with how she can tweak and nuance a scene to make it new to everyone.
We always enjoy learning what moment in a show resonates most with its cast members, and Ms. Lang said the song "If Only You Would Listen" the first time she heard it "just made me cry." It made her think of her own family and children, and it became as though the song was for her. She says that moment is when the kids are finally "telling their parents you need to listen." It's a time to recognize that children have a voice, one that needs to be heard and respected.
To see Deidre Lang bring Ms. Sheinkopf to life, be sure to purchase your tickets for one of the performances at Clowes Memorial Hall. Performances run January 29th through February 3rd.