School of Rock opened at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood last week and my 14-year-old son and I loved it! It’s high energy and very entertaining. Based off of the hit movie, it follows rocker/underachiever Dewey Finn as he teaches a group of private school kids how to rock.
Rob Coletti, who was in Book of Mormon on Broadway, plays Finn an unemployed musician who impersonates his friend Ned in order to get a substitute teaching job. He knows nothing about any of the subjects he’s teaching so he convinces his students to form a band so he can win the Battle of the Bands.
Coletti goes all in as the self-involved man/boy who must play music at any cost. He brings out the inner rocker in the students who are are played by an amazing group of young people. They play the instruments live on stage during the show.
In order to keep the band going, they must keep away from the by-the-book Principal played beautifully by Lexie Dorsett Sharp. She says she hates music and doesn’t like Finn, but deep down she’s a romantic Fleetwood Mac fan.
Like the movie, School of Rock ends with a fun battle of the bands musical number. Families of older kids will like the music and the comedy – it’s pretty funny. It’s also a nice story about being yourself. Most of the kids have a compelling and current back story about not fitting in, having overbearing parents and feeling like they are not being heard. The show is recommended for ages 8 and up. (Children under 5 will not be admitted to the theatre. All patrons must have a ticket, regardless of age, according to The Pantages.) There’s some swearing and drinking and grown up themes of responsibility and pressure.
School of Rock the Musical debuted on Broadway in 2015 and was nominated for Best Musical (Hamilton won that year) with an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, a book by Julian Fellowes, choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter and direction by Laurence Connor.
It’s playing now through May 27th, 2018.