By Lauren McMullin
The School of Rock musical brings a light-hearted comedy filled with angsty music and talented child stars. It begins with Dewey, an adult who has no job and whose only passion in life is to be a rock star, by winning the battle of the bands. Dewey is laughable, obnoxious, and childlike, which ultimately wins the crowd over. He lives with his old high school bandmate, and falling behind on the rent, he desperately cons his way into a substitute teaching job. When he realizes that the children in his class are musically talented, he forms a plan: to have the children perform in the Battle of the Bands with him.
As outrageous as the story line is, with the children learning about rock’n roll instead of their traditional subjects, it reaches out and tugs at the heartstrings of everyone’s inner child. We all once had the dream to become a rock star, a professional athlete, an artist, a singer, or a musician, and the message of the musical is that we can achieve our childhood dreams. In today’s cynical world, this message is a breath of fresh air, telling the world that it’s okay to be different and to follow your own unique pathway.
The best part of the show was the music, and the talented children who performed the music. Each child who was assigned to play an instrument in the band actually played it throughout their performances, from electric guitar to the drums. Tomika, the character played by Amadi Chapata, had killer vocal performances that left you wondering where she would be headed in her future. To see a child so young belting out The Star Spangled Banner leaves a sense of wonder.
Apart from the fantastic music, the humor in the musical was endearing, but did not have the audience rolling on the ground with laughter. The sets were beautiful and costumes perfect for the cast. It is a show that is worth watching, with low-key comedy, and high-key musical performances. In the end, the musical wins over the audience by bringing out the inner child that is hiding in all of us.