On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of seeing “The School of Rock: The Musical” at the Fox Theatre in Midtown Atlanta. With music written by iconic Tony-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by critically acclaimed Laurence Connor, I went in with high expectations and I was not disappointed.
Based on 2003 film starring Jack Black, “School of Rock” follows the story of Dewey Finn (played by Merritt David Janes), a guy who’s been striving for fame as a rock star his entire life but is, unfortunately, “stuck at the foot of Mt. Rock.” Freeloading at a high school friend’s apartment, and kicked out of his rock band, Dewy hits an all-time low, but in a stroke of fate, he finds himself posing as a substitute teacher, and teaching kids the meaning of rock & roll and being yourself. This epic musical will take you through a roller coaster of emotions, including the struggles of growing up and the struggles of being a grown-up.
This was the first play I’ve seen in Atlanta that engaged the audience so remarkably. The audience members were singing and dancing along, and by the end of the show, everyone was on their feet. Even one of the main antagonists, the school’s principal Rosalie Merritt (Lexie Dorsett Sharp) unleashes her inner rock star and jams out to Stevie Nicks. “School of Rock” also attracted a very diverse audience. There were kids dressed up as characters, elderly couples enjoying this Broadway hit and millennials coming to see the recreation of a classic movie from their childhood.
“School of Rock” has catchy songs and a dynamic set that transforms. While these elements are eye-catching, it’s the cast that really makes the show. With their stunning vocal cords and enthusiastic approach to the choreography, the cast truly brings the rock & roll charisma to the stage. They even play their own instruments!
On opening night the set did experience some technical difficulties about halfway through the second act, but the actors didn’t allow this to phase their performance. They soon returned to the stage and by the end of the show, you feel as if you’re at a real rock concert.
The entire cast is outstanding but most notable are Mystic Inscho as Zack, a young kid who expresses his inner rock star with electric guitar, Sami Bray, who plays Summer, a typical Hermione character consumed in ambition, and Grier Brike as Tomika, a shy girl who finds her very powerful voice. And of course, there’s the lead actor Merritt David Janes, who as Dewy, shows incredible chemistry with his co-stars.
Overall, this is one of the most talent-packed, uplifting shows Atlanta has to offer and is a must-see.
“School of Rock: The Musical” plays at the Fox Theatre through Sunday, October 21.
VOX teens were able to attend the press night of “School of Rock,” thanks to the generosity of Atlanta’s Most Valuable Kids nonprofit and Broadway Across America.
Halimah, 17, is a junior at Fulton Science Academy, plays tennis and interns for The Dunwoody Reporter.