Review by Lauryn Angel
The 2003 Jack Black vehicle School of Rock seems like an odd choice for Andrew Lloyd Webber to turn into a musical, but in many ways, it also seems like an obvious choice. The movie is fun, full of music, and has a great message for both kids and adults, making it a great choice for a family-friendly musical.
Dewey Finn (Rob Colletti in the role originally played by Jack Black) is a down-on-his luck loser. He’s been fired from his band, fired from his job, and his best friend/landlord wants him to actually pay rent. So when Horace Green Prep calls, looking for Ned (Matt Bitner) for a high-paying substitute teacher position, what else is there for Dewey to do but pretend to be Ned and take the job? From there, hijinks ensue, as Dewey teaches the children about hangovers and exploits their talents to enter the big Battle of the Bands, which offers a prize of $20,000. The kids have to hide their band from principal Rosalie Mullins (Lexie Dorsett Sharp) and their parents, whom they feel don’t really understand them.
The ensemble as a whole is very good, but I have to say that Colletti’s performance as Dewey Finn felt like he was trying too hard to recreate Jack Black’s performance. I would much rather have seen him make the character his own than try to recapture Black’s performance. Most impressive in this production are the young performers – not only do these kids sing and dance, but they play their own instruments superbly. Above all else, the skill Theodora Silverman, Vincent Molden, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, and Theo Mitchell-Penner display is remarkable.
School of Rock is a fun show to end the Dallas Summer Musicals Season and a great send-off for summer, with school just around the corner.