Hi everyone! Today I’m reviewing the musical School of Rock!
I saw this musical over the weekend in Chicago as they’re touring right now.
In order to see this one I braved the cold wind and rain to get myself downtown. As usual, I took the train down and then found food first.
While I was eating I realized that it had stopped raining so I made towards Millennium Park. On the way I happily noticed that the buildings for the Christkindlemarket in Daley Plaza is almost all set up! I’m excited to go this year once it’s up.
Then I wandered into the Chicago Cultural Center instead since it was quite chilly. I found them in the midst of their Chicago Architecture Biennial History event and had a great time wandering through the exhibits. The art here is much more contemporary than what I would normally go for but I did enjoy it and love seeing all the interpretations of the world on display.
After that I walked back down towards the Cadillac Palace Theatre where the production was held. I got there about 40 minutes before the start so I walked into the building and then waited for the house to open.
This is the first musical of the new season and so I had a paper waiting for me to remind me to renew my subscription. I’m not interested in any of the musicals of the next season so I’m not renewing. Then I did my usual eavesdropping. I had to snap at some older lady who was rude while trying to get to her seat. After I snapped she realized how rude she had been and apologized but I already had decided I didn’t like her so it was too late. The group behind me was huge and they took up the entire row I believe. One older lady in the group said to another that she hadn’t renewed either and didn’t plan to.
I didn’t see the Champagne Ladies and I’m afraid that I likely won’t cross paths with them ever again. I had to change my ticket for the last musical of the previous season next week (they overlap a bit) so I won’t be in my usual spot next to them. There was a Champagne Couple next to me who didn’t even really talk to each other so that was disappointing as I couldn’t eavesdrop on them. Next time I should get myself champagne but what would my nickname be then?
Anyway, I was quite a bit higher than I thought, I was about three or four rows back from the front of the balcony which was disappointing as I like to be in the front but ah well. It was still a good seat so I can’t complain too much.
As for the musical, I had seen the movie and loved it so I figured I’d love the musical too. And happily I did! In case you haven’t the story revolves around Dewey, who is an aspiring rock star that was kicked out of his band before the Battle of the Bands. In order to get rent money he pretends to be his roommate Ned to be a substitute teacher at an elite school. Then he forms a rock band with the students because that can’t have any negative consequences, right?
The set was so detailed. The classroom especially had so many little details that I loved on the walls, and the props were all amazing. Not only did the classroom look good but so did Dewey, Ned, and Patty’s apartment, Horace Green’s lobby and teacher’s room, as well as the stages for the Battle of the Bands.
At the beginning of the musical the voice announcement stated that the kids actually do play their instruments on stage. The kids were so amazingly talented! They were great at singing, dancing, and acting. I especially loved the Summer character as she wanted gold stars and ended up the band manager. The rest of the characters were great too. Dewey got some great new songs added in and he and Ned had more interaction throughout the musical as well. One change was that in the movie most of the teachers seem to really love working with Dewey but in the musical they don’t interact with him at all and when they do they clearly dislike him. Rosalie was a lot more strict through a huge portion of the story, much more than what I remember in the musical but she got amazing transformational scenes.
I loved how much character background and development were added into the story. Tomika, Billy, Zack, Lawrence, and Rosalie all got amazing parts written in for them. I already touched on Rosalie’s part but the kids were featured in great ways. There were moments when all the parents were dropping their kids off at school in the morning and interacted with the kids and Rosalie in such unique ways. Through the musical they all showed how their characters impacted the children. All the parents were going about thinking they were doing what was best for their child when each child thought that their parent wasn’t taking the time to hear them out and learn what they truly needed. One thing I thought it was so funny that the kids in musicals generally double up on parts as they have smaller roles but in this production, the adults doubled up. The adult actors that were teachers were also parents and other roles.
The music was amazing of course. This is an Andrew Lloyd Webber production so I knew the music would be amazing. True enough, “You’re in the Band” “If Only You Would Listen”, and “Where Did the Rock Go?” were incredible. The entire musical was great but those were my favorite songs of the production. Of course, “School of Rock” was a showstopper and the entire house loved the Battle of the Bands. Not only were the vocals amazing but so was the music and it was cool to think that it was actually the children doing so great at both. I think this cast did a particularly great job of bringing together great talent and showed off their skills.
The finale was nice as well since everyone was introduced as they came out for the bows at the end. Throughout the audience was a lot more participatory than in other musicals I’ve seen. For example, during “Amazing Grace” lots of people vocally proclaimed their amazement, there were a lot of scenes when the audience was encouraged to clap along with the actors, and at the end when the kids were brought back out they were encouraged to act as if it was a concert. The production brought the concert element into the musical environment perfectly and it was such a fun performance to be at.
So those are my thoughts on School of Rock! I have one more musical to go for my first season’s subscription, two for my new subscription coming up this year, one that I bought tickets for separately, and another that I need to buy before the year is up as well. So five more to go for 2017! Since I won’t have a subscription in 2018 I have a feeling I won’t see as many but then again, that’s what I thought would happen this year so we’ll have to wait and see.
Let me know if you’ve seen School of Rock or what musical you’ve seen lately. Movie musicals counts!
Thanks for reading!
Follow me on social media!