School of Rock is based upon the eponymous movie, with book by Julian Fellowes (of Gosford Park, Mary Poppins, and Downton Abbey fame), lyrics by Glenn Slater (Sister Act, The Little Mermaid), and new music and orchestrations by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (theatre legend who created Sunset Boulevard, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, and on and on). It is directed by Laurence Connor (who also directed Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, and others), and choreographed by Joann M. Hunter who has “19 Broadway shows to her credit,” according to her biography. Scenic and costume design is by Anna Louizos, who is no less accomplished in this starry lineup.
With all of this talent amassed for the creative team, does School of Rock live up to expectations? The answer is yes, yes, and yes! School of Rock is the perfect musical for the whole family. It’s lively, funny, and warm. School of Rock sends out positive messages about good parenting, the true nature of education, and being a kid in today’s society.
Speaking of talent, there is an enormous cast of adults and kids. On opening night, Rob Colletti was Dewey, the slacker who only dreamed of achieving his goals until fate gave him a nudge. He tirelessly led the cast of astonishing child talent who not only sang and danced up a storm, but many of the kids played musical instruments. An announcement stated that the kids really do play their instruments and, it must be said, played them well indeed. The rest of the adult cast assumed multiple roles as parents, teachers, cops, and aspiring rock stars.
The audience on opening night stood for a prolonged standing ovation for the entire cast. School of Rock is the perfect holiday entertainment musical for the whole family.