‘School of Rock’ Teaches Rebellion and Respect

Syd Pierre, staff writer

‘School of Rock’ is a wildly energetic musical, filled with rebellion and rock and roll. The musical is based off of the 2003 movie starring Jack Black, and it follows the original plot closely. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Glenn Slater, the show is filled with a balance of soft ballads and loud, rowdier rock tunes. The show opened on Broadway in 2015, started its U.S. tour in the fall of 2017, and is currently playing at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis from Mar. 6 to 11.

Both the musical and movie follow Dewey Finn, a rock star wannabe with big dreams and an even bigger amount of rent money that he owes his longtime friend and ex-bandmate-turned-substitute-teacher, Ned. When Dewey gets kicked out of his band, Ned’s strict, shrill girlfriend, Patty, is immediately there, demanding rent money or else. So when Dewey stumbles upon a well paying temp job at the prestigious Horace Green Preparatory School, he jumps at the chance, even though he has no teaching background whatsoever. With mismatched clothing, a fondness for meatball subs, and a strong belief that rock and roll can fix anything, Dewey takes Horace Green by storm, sweeping the students and facility, including Ms. Rosalie Mullins, the strict principal, into a music filled frenzy. As it turns out, the gifted, overscheduled kids he teaches only need a little prodding before they begin to shine in their own ways and start their own rebellion, bonding together to compete in the ‘Battle of The Bands.’

Rob Colletti shines as Dewey, commanding the stage with a seemingly endless amount of energy. Colletti easily transferred between Dewey’s energetic, wildly funny side to his softer, more caring side throughout the show. Complete with a strong belt and funny antics, Coletti had the audience hooked from the first note. Lexie Dorsett Sharp portrays Rosalie, Dewey’s love interest and the principal of Horace Green, as she secretly longs for the freedom and music she used to have in her life. Sharp has a strong vocal range and chemistry with Coletti, as their characters adjust to fit each other’s differences. Matt Bittner, who nails the nerdy, impressionable role as Ned, can often be found with an inhaler in his hand and in the midst of flashbacks to his guitar playing days. Emily Borromeo plays Patty, Ned’s shrill girlfriend, who dislikes all things rock and roll, and has a fondness for forcing people to grow up.

But the real stars of the show were the kids, who play live every night as a part of Dewey’s band. With Theodora Silverman as Katie on bass, Phoenix Schuman as Zach on lead guitar, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy on drums, and Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence on keyboard, the band left the audience captivated with their talent and ability to multitask. Other noticeable roles included Ava Briglia as Summer, the strong willed, play-by-the-rules band manager, and Gianna Harris as Tomika, the soft spoken singer who hides secrets of her own, and a powerful belt to match.

‘School of Rock’ is filled with powerful music that teaches an equally powerful message about standing up for yourself, never giving up, and the importance of teamwork. So, while school is still in session, head down to the Orpheum because this energetic show filled with insanely talented kids is not one to miss.