Take Your Musicians to Broadway in Cincinnati’s “School of Rock, the Musical”
Posted On February 22, 2018
Review by Liz Eichler of School of Rock: Broadway in Cincinnati
The audience was alive with young people on the opening of School of Rock, the Musical. Many of them told me they were musicians, ready to be inspired. You can be inspired through March 4 at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center, as School of Rock, written by Julian Fellowes, Glen Slater, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, lifts you out of this dreary winter.
The highlight of the show is the kids—their energy, the dancing, and of course the musicianship. These preteens slay it on drums, bass, keyboard, guitar and vocals. In case you missed the movie by Mike White, the basis of the play, it is the story of Dewey the overgrown rock musician who has been sponging off a buddy, but now the rent is way past due. Dewey intercepts one of his roomie’s long-term substitute teaching requests and finds himself in front of a room of talented, but classical musicians. Playing to his strength, he forms a band with them, introducing them to the word of rock—performance, management, and style. The students find their voice and confidence, despite complications from principal (powerful and funny Lexie Dorsett Sharp) and parents. The musical focuses more on the kids than the rent, and it is a winning strategy.
The opening is fast—right into a rock concert, where energetic Dewey (Rob Colletti) upstages the lead vocalist in his band, getting him kicked out, taking refuge in his bed, delivering an all too subdues “When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock.” All comes alive when he finally meets the kids and their energy electrifies the stage. Highlights include “You’re in the Band,” “If Only You Would Listen,” and “Stick it to the Man.” Of course all the kids are great, but a special shout out to Theo Mitchell-Penner (Lawrence on Keyboard), Tommy Ragen (Zach on Guitar), Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy on Drums), Ava Briglia (Summer the Manager), Theodora Silverman (Katie on Bass), Olivia Bucknor (Shonelle) and especially Chloe Anne Garcia (Marcy Back-up Singers). The set and costume are great. Opening night lights and sound were still working out some kinks.
Bring your young musicians to School of Rock, the Musical, and be inspired by this and all the shows of the Broadway in Cincinnati series. Tickets are available at CincinnatiArts.org or by calling 513-621-ARTS.