School of Rock The Musical
Aronoff Center – Cincinnati, OH
February 21, 2018
For the next two weeks, The Aronoff Center in Cincinnati, OH has been turned into an institution of higher learning. The teachers for this course are the talented cast of “School of Rock The Musical.” And the subject is my all time favorite…Rock n’ Roll!!!
The show is based on the 2003 film “School of Rock” which tells the story of a rock n’ roll burn out named Dewey Finn who finds himself in an unlikely role of teacher to a group of children at the highly prestigious Horace Green Prep School. But instead of math, science, and geography, Dewey’s curriculum includes Hendrix, Mama Cass and The Who. Needless to say, things only get crazy from there. Along the way, this unlikely mentor gives the kids a voice and outlet they have been longing for, and in return Dewey learns a few lessons along the way of his own.
In any situation where the film comes first, the actors and actresses have a tough job of living up to the original performance while also making the role their own. For “School of Rock” actor Rob Colletti had the intimidating job of playing the role of Dewey Finn originally made famous by the one and only Jack Black. Colletti certainly rose to the occasion by capturing the spirit of the character without doing a bad Jack Black impersonation. The actor showed great balance in the role and played perfectly off of his young co-stars. And what can I say about the boys and girls who make up the “School of Rock” band? In a word, they are awesome! It is important to mention that at the beginning of the performance the audience is informed that the musicianship displayed by the children in the show is real. There are no backing tracks, they are playing their instruments in the show. That makes what you see in the show so jaw-dropping. I should mention that these kids are not just strumming a G chord and keeping a beat, they are jamming. While all of the kids in the show are amazing, I got so much enjoyment watching young Theodora Silverman during the whole show. Silverman played the role of the band’s bassist, Katie. While the instrument strapped across her shoulders was almost as big as she was, she was a total rock star. She had the perfect mix of stage presence and attitude, and I am convinced I will be buying her record one day.
While the show on the surface is very light-hearted and fun, I did find a very important lesson in the show. The obvious premise of the show is young kids being introduced to the world of rock n’ roll. But thanks to the wonderful performance of Lexi Dorsett Sharp (who is a CCM Graduate), the need for some of us not-so-young kids to get reconnected to the music also prevails. Lexi portrays the role of Rosalie Mullins, the tough, by the book principal of Horace Green (and huge Stevie Nicks fan.) During the second act of the show, Rosalie is reminded of how much she loved music in her past and somehow that loved slipped away. The actress delivers a beautiful song, “Where Did the Rock Go?” The moment was a powerful reminder of the special bond we form with music over the years. This moment of the show was a definite highlight for me.
As a writer, there is always a conscious effort that has to be made to avoid overused cliches. I say this to premise that the following statement I am about to make is in no way a cliche or pulled from a list of must use review phrases. The performance of “School of Rock” was a true joy. Through the actors and actresses performance, the music and the overall spirit of the show I was reminded of everything I love about music. If you love music, but maybe don’t consider yourself the “theater type,” this is the show for you. By the end of the show, you will feel like you are at a rock show. There were more than one set of horns thrown up during the curtain call at the end of the night…which by the way felt more like an encore at a concert. I think even Rosalie would agree, the “School of Rock” gets an A+!!!
School of Rock is playing now through March 4th. Get your tickets here!!!