BWW Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK Shreds at the Peace Center
Wanna-be rock god Dewey Finn (Rob Colletti) gets fired from his job, kicked out of the band he founded, and threatened with eviction from the apartment where he's been a long-term unwanted guest.
He's got nowhere to turn until a fateful phone call lands him a job at a fancy private elementary school. Who cares that he's never taught before and that the job offer was actually intended for Dewey's best friend? Time to climb to the top of Mount Rock.
That's the set up for School of Rock - The Musical, now playing at the Peace Center. Based on the 2003 Jack Black movie, School of Rock - The Musical features a paint-by-numbers plot, one dimensional characters, and, frankly, the whole thing stretches on just a little bit too long. But you know what? None of that matters. Because School of Rock isn't about plot or spectacle or insight or character depth. School of Rock is about rock and roll. About that heavy metal spirit. About stickin' it the The Man.
It's a high energy showcase for some impressively talented youngsters. And it rocks.
Rob Colletti is terrific as Dewey. He brings an amazing amount of enthusiasm to the part, especially considering that he's on stage nearly every minute. He's also got a great comic presence that brings some warmth to a character who's a lying, childish slacker. He also works really well with the kids, and, after all, they are the true heart of the show.
Ava Briglia, Gianna Harris, Phoenix Schuman, Theo Mitchell-Penner, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, Theodora Silverman and a half dozen other kids steal the show as Dewey's students. They play their own instruments on stage and jump and bounce around with gusto. They're a delight to watch.
Other standout performers include Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Rosalie, the school's uptight principal who harbors a hidden love for Stevie Nicks, Matt Bittner as Ned, Dewey's friend and former band mate, and Deidre Lang as the no-nonsense Ms. Sheinkopf.
Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the music, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and book by Julian Fellowes. Laurence Connor directed, with choreography by Joann Hunter. As alluded to before, it's all a little bit cookie cutter, and it drags in places. But the overall energy - especially from the kids - is overpowering and endearing (and almost exhausting). There's some clever melding of rock concert staples with more straightforward musical comedy moves, and it all somehow works.
It's a head-banging good time.
SCHOOL OF ROCK runs through December 10, 2017, at the Peace Center in downtown Greenville, SC. For tickets and additional information call the box office at 864.467.3000 or visit peacecenter.org.
The Saturday, December 9, 2 p.m. performance is designated as an ASL signed performance. Please speak with a Customer Service Representative to ensure you are seated in the correct location.