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BWW Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at DES MOINES PERFORMING ARTS: Gold Stars All Around

BWW Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at DES MOINES PERFORMING ARTS: Gold Stars All Around
School of Rock Cast
Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Another school year may be coming to an end, but school is just starting at Des Moines Performing Arts as "School of Rock: The Musical" opened up April 30 for a limited 1 week engagement as part of the Willis Broadway Series. This production is not to be missed, especially if you are wanting to introduce your children to the world of theatre. While the main characters in the show may be adults, it's the kids who are the stars of this show.

"School of Rock: The Musical" is based off the movie of the same name. Dewey Finn is having a bad day, he has been kicked out of his band, and now finds out that he is going to be kicked out of his friend's house if he can't pay his rent. Then after finding this out, he loses his job. The only way he sees that he can get the money to pay rent is to win the battle of the bands. His luck starts to change when he answers the phone to find a school that wants to bring his friend Ned Schneebly on as a substitute teacher. So he decides to impersonate his friend and goes to the school. When he finds out the kids are musicians, he decides to turn them into a rock band to try and win the battle of the bands.

BWW Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at DES MOINES PERFORMING ARTS: Gold Stars All Around
School of Rock Cast
Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Prior to the show I always like to look at the board that list understudies filling in for the evening's performance. This use to be something that I was disappointed by, but lately I've found myself seeing this as an opportunity to see something exciting and new brought into a show. For the performance I was at, the role of Rosalie was played by Lizzie Klemperer. I was amazed at the range in her voice as she went from the operatic singing of "Queen of the Night" to the power ballad singing of "Were Did the Rock Go."

The gold star for the night has to go to the kids in the show. Their roles have been expanded from the movie and it pays off. The energy they bring to the show will bring a smile to everyone's face. I was amazed at how sharply they were able to do choreography by Joann M Hunter. One of the best parts of is that they play their own instruments. This wowed me due to the difficulty of the music.

While every kid in this production gets a gold star, there a few more that will get an additional star. The first going to Camille De La Cruz as Tomika. She does a great job playing up the shy girl who is new at the school. This leads to two amazing moments in act 2. The first is when she is able to sing through the chaos to show that she wants to sing in the band. I was amazed to see such a big voice come from such a young kid. The second her character gets to pour her heart out and convince Dewey to do the Battle of the Bands performance towards the end of Act 2.

BWW Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at DES MOINES PERFORMING ARTS: Gold Stars All Around
Cameron Trueblood
Photo by Evan Zimmerman

Also getting a gold star for his performance as Cameron Trueblood as Freddy. I found his character to be so animated that you couldn't help but watch him, at the same time it never distracted from the show. He brought so much humor to playing the drummer in the show. From playing cymbals during "Queen of the Night," to using the floor a drum, every time he pulled out his drumsticks, you knew we were in for a treat.

The final gold star goes to Mystic Inscho who plays Zach. I found him to be one of the most relatable kids in the show. He does an outstanding job showing the longing of his character to get his father's approval.

BWW Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at DES MOINES PERFORMING ARTS: Gold Stars All Around
Mystic Inscho and Merritt David Janes
Photo by Evan Zimmerman

You could see the pain in his eyes every time his characters father told him that what he was doing was a waste of time. It was a great reminder to the adults in the audience that we need to think about the words we choose with our kids, or any kids we work with. While we may not think what we are saying is bad, it can be amplified to a child. Because of the journey he takes with his character, it is satisfying at the end when we finally get to hear his dad tell him how proud he is.

Don't miss out on your chance to see "School Of Rock: The Musical" while it's at Des Moines Performing Arts through May 5. Tickets start as low as $40. Tickets can purchased by visiting https://desmoinesperformingarts.org/events/1819-school-of-rock/

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From This Author DC Felton

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