The show says, “Rock got no reason, rock got no rhyme,” but there is rhyme and reason to love “School of Rock.” This past Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Fairfield University Student Association provided students with the opportunity to see the Broadway production of “School of Rock” at the Winter Garden Theatre. “School of Rock” has music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who wrote music for shows such as “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats.” With this repertoire, “School of Rock” was bound to be a great performance.
The play was based off of the 2003 movie of the same name. Dewey Finn (Eric Petersen), a wannabe rock star, is down on his luck after being kicked out of his band and threatened with eviction by his roommate and friend, Ned Schneebly (Steven Booth), and his controlling girlfriend, Patty Di Marco (Becky Gulsvig). To help pay for the rent, Dewey poses as Ned to get a job as a substitute teacher at the strict and prestigious Horace Green School, only to discover that his students have musical talent. He has them form a band to compete in the Battle of the Bands under the guise of a school project where they would compete against other schools. In reality, he is using this to help alleviate his financial problems and to earn some form of rock stardom.
The music was incredible in its delivery and the content of what was performed. “I thought the kids played really well, especially with playing their own instruments. It added to the authenticity of the performance,” said Alyson DeRosa ‘19. The show included almost entirely original music. The only songs that weren’t original to the Broadway show were the song that student Zack Mooneyham — portrayed by musician Brandon Niederauer — wrote, titled “School of Rock,” and the song “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks, which is played in the background of one of the scenes. The music was incredible and the songs “You’re in the Band,” “Stick it to the Man” and “Where did the Rock Go?” each display the range, both in the acting ability and musical talent of the cast members.
The main stars of the show, however, were the kids. Some were given more fleshed out backstories than they had in the movie, where they were just kids with stuck-up parents who wouldn’t let them play rock music, but in the show, some of the children’s backgrounds are a bit more elaborate. Zack and Tomika (Amadi Chapata) are given the most development of all the children. The conflict of ideals between Zack and his father are a bit more drawn out than “you just don’t understand, dad.” Instead, it deals with the father trying to control his son’s life and not listening to any input Zack tries to bring. Tomika’s story has also drastically changed from screen to stage. In the movie, she was just a shy girl with no confidence in herself. In the play, she is the adoptive daughter of two gay men with her shyness developing because she’s the new kid at Horace Green.
The show was extremely well received with the audience giving the players a standing ovation. “School of Rock” is a great addition to the Broadway lineup and will be remembered for time to come.