In case you haven't seen the movie (which I honestly can't remember if I have), here's a plot summary: Wannabe rock star Dewey is down on his luck, fired from the band that he started and his day job, and overdue in paying the rent to his former rock band buddy Ned and his girlfriend Patty (who is unfortunately written as the nagging girlfriend, when she's the only one in sight trying to do any adulting). When he accidentally intercepts a call from Horace Green prep school to Ned offering him a substitute teaching job, Dewey impersonates Ned and takes the job, thinking it'll be easy money (because how hard can teaching a bunch of privileged kids be?). Dewey-as-Ned wants to put the kids on permanent recess, until he discovers they're talented musicians. He soon turns them from classical to rock, and shares his love of rock history, music, and performance. He wants to enter a battle of the bands competition to win some cash and make a name for himself, but soon learns to love the kids, as they love him for believing in them and allowing them to be themselves. As many teachers from Mr. Keating to Mr. Schue have done, Dewey changes the lives of his students, and they have their "Oh Captain, My Captain" moment after the truth is found out, and they come to his defense and sneak away to the battle of the bands. It's here they learn the most important lesson of all: music isn't about winning, it's about sharing the joy and love of music.*
|Reed Sigmund and the cast of School of Rock
(photo courtesy of Zephyr Theatre)
If the dozen young actors on stage (some of whom are regulars at CTC and other local theaters) represent the future of #TCTheater, the future looks bright. They're all so in it, having a great time telling this story. Special shout-out to the quadruple threats (act, sing, dance, and play an instrument) - Clay Bartelt on keys, Malia Berg on bass, Sam Mandell on drums, and Huxley Westemeier on guitar. They're really playing throughout the show, and they really rock (with help from the awesome five-person onstage band under music director Phil Kadidlo). Also great are Mabel Weismann as good student turned band manager Summer, and the cutest little irate stylist Truman Bednar. Among the large and talented adult cast (who play a supporting role to the kids), Jen Burleigh-Bentz gives the stuffy school principal depth and almost stops the show with the gorgeous ballad "Where Did the Rock Go?"
|the Battle of the Bands (photo courtesy of Zephyr)
This is a good week to visit charming riverside Stillwater, with its plentiful shops, restaurants, and outdoor activities, and also see a fantastic regional premiere of a fun and heart-warming musical featuring tons of young local talent.
*Plot summary borrowed from my review of the 2018 Broadway tour.