Photo courtesy of Matthew Murphy
Story by Caryn Tramel / Contributing Writer
“School of Rock: The Musical” is a hilarious, high-energy production from start to finish.
This production was a part of Broadway at TPAC, presented in part with HCA Tristar Health. Once again, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center did not disappoint with the start of this year’s season.
The kids in this production bring a lot of the energy with their live performances on all of the instruments throughout the show. Parents and other adults are sure to love this show with all the humor specifically directed to them, such as references to music and “Lord of the Flies.”
Stellar performances from Grier Burke as Tomika, Mystic Inscho as Zack and Sammy Dell as Billy. Burke’s voice is one to look out for in the future. Her character is shy in the beginning of the show but, by act two, cannot be forgotten. Inscho is truly incredible on the guitar, and his solos will blow the audience away every time. Dell is the source of much humor with his many perfectly timed comedic lines poking fun at Dewey, portrayed by Rob Colletti.
Colletti is a well-cast Dewey. He portrays his character as a hard-core rocker perfectly, giving the audience the nostalgic Jack Black feel while still bringing his own twist to the character, especially in the opening musical number, “When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock.” His quips to the students about their lack of music education are relatable to the audience and even some parents in attendance.
Rosalie, portrayed by Lexie Dorsett Sharp, is the principal every student has feared at some point, but there is more to her. Her performance during “Where Did the Rock Go?” shows that she is still finding herself. Also, her show of kindness to the kids at the end of the production had the audience cooing.
In Saturday’s matinee performance, there were technical difficulties on the stage. This resulted in the curtain closing and the audience wondering if the show would go on. Several audience members did leave, but for those that stayed, the fun did not stop.
The final musical numbers of the production felt like an actual concert, instead of theater. The show’s anthem, “School of Rock,” is a knockout performance by all in the company. Adding to the atmosphere, the actors portraying the parents went out to the audience for a more interactive experience. The talent of all the kids in the production is truly mind-blowing. More than that, the emotion in their characters and the musical numbers is amazing.
Other great musical numbers include “If Only You Would Listen” and “You’re in the Band.”
The scenic design uses multiple tracks to provide a seamless transition between many of the scenes. The tracks add a visually appealing change from one scene to the next. The scenic elements of the school are the most dynamic. The walls of the school were able to be turned and swivel to create different halls and walkways for the actors.
A big part of the concert feel at the end of the production was due to the lighting design. The lighting design included strobe lights and different colors. The most visually dynamic design was at the beginning when Dewey opened his guitar case, which showed light coming out, and then closed the case, which then led to an immediate spotlight on himself.
The costumes were true to what some audiences knew from the movie, which is what this show is based on. The costume designs fit every character’s personality well. For most of the show, the characters had the same costumes.
The choreography used the scenic design to its advantage. The moving parts of the stage allowed fluid movement of characters from scene to scene and even song to song. The choreographer, JoAnn M. Hunter, also used the natural energy and movements of the kids throughout the show.
“School of Rock: The Musical” is a must-see production for fans of the hit movie.
“School of Rock: The Musical” ran Sept. 11 to 16, 2018.
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