Monday, November 6, 2017

Review of School of Rock (Broadway in Chicago)

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called School of Rock. It was based on the Paramount movie written by Mike White. The book was by Julian Fellowes. The lyrics were by Glenn Slater. The new music was by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was choreographed by JoAnn M. Hunter and directed by Laurence Connor. It was about a man named Dewey (Rob Colletti) and he had been kicked out of his band and he didn't have a job and he needed to pay rent because his roommate and best friend Ned's (Matt Bittner) girlfriend Patty (Emily Borromeo) didn't like him and wanted him out of the house. So when gets a phone call for Ned from Rosalie (Lexie Dorsett-Sharp), the principal of Horace Green School, saying that Ned has gotten a substitute teaching job and has to go in the next day, Dewey decided to take the position for himself by pretending to be Ned. He decides that at this really preppy school they don't have enough fun and they don't even know what rock music is. So he teaches them how to play rock music and live a rock lifestyle (with no drugs). He decides to form a band with the kids and perform in the Battle of the Bands against his old group. This is a really heartwarming and fun story. There are a lot of really talented performers in this show and I think it is an adorable family musical.

I really liked the song "You're in the Band." It really showed off all the kids' talents. Something that was really effective to show their amazingness is that they'd play things wrong at first and then the second time they played it perfectly. Like when the guitarist Zach (Phoenix Schuman) first picked up the guitar and started plucking out notes, he was really stiff. Bt then the second time that he did it, he loosened up and was a total rock star. He was super into it, which was super fun to watch. Also, the bass player, Katie (Theodora Silverman), starts out really stone-faced. And then she discovers her signature look, which was like a sassy pouty face while she plays. Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) doesn't think that he's cool but then he learns his love for playing the keyboard makes him feel a lot less insecure. He starts by playing a classical piece and it transforms halfway through the piece into rock and roll. Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) hadn't gotten to play the way he wanted to in the school orchestra. He played cymbals and just had to keep a very simple beat. The first time he played the drums in Dewey's band, he started out and Dewey said, "Yeah. That's good. For my grandma...who's dead!" But then Freddy finds his rhythm and starts doing this amazing drum solo. I'm still in awe of it.

Tomika (Gianna Harris) is the shy one at the school. She's new and she wants to be in the band, but she can't vocalize it. But eventually she says she wants to be in the band, and Dewey asks if she wants to join the backup singers (Chloe Ann Garcia and Olivia Bucknor). She says she's not a backup singer, she's a singer. Which is like the best line in this whole show because it is so unexpected, especially from her. It shows us that she isn't just a shy girl who doesn't want to talk to anyone; she actually has some charisma and spunk. Then she also has an amazing voice, as you get to see when she sings "Amazing Grace." Rosalie had a very similar transformation. She also starts out not liking the idea of the band, but then she warms up to it when she actually gets to know Dewey. I think that is a really cool relationship between Tomika and Rosalie. They don't talk to each other much in the play, but they have similar stories. It is cool to see two people of different ages going through a similar process.

"Time to Play" sung by the band manager, Summer (Ava Briglia), was a fun song and it gave you a little sneak peek into what the final performance at the Battle of the Bands would be like. Summer was showing her bossy side and yelling at everyone. At first in the play she is yelling at everyone for doing rock and roll instead of schoolwork. But in this song, she is yelling at everyone because they are not doing band practice the way that she wants. She's also been changed by Dewey, no matter how little she wants to admit it. She is using her uptightness for the good of rock and roll and not just to annoy people.

People who would like this show are people who like hidden talents, influential teachers, and rock and roll bossiness. I think people should go see this show. It is super fun, has catchy songs, and has really talented performers.

Photos: Matthew Murphy

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