School of Rock The Musical | ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’S SMASH HIT IS COMING TO DETROIT OPENING APRIL 10 AT THE FISHER THEATRE

Senior Writer: Dianna Brang-Scott

Interview Date: April 5, 2018

School of Rock – The Musical is based on the smash hit 2003 film of the same, that stared Jack Black and Joan Cusack. It features music from the movie, as well as an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, a book by Julian Fellowes, choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter and direction by Laurence Connor. Andrew Lloyd Webber, along with, Julian Fellowes, Glenn Slater and Laurence Connor, have taken Richard Linklater’s 2003 film – which made Jack Black a star – and given it new life onstage. 

 

Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of such megahits as Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar and Cats, wants audiences to have a “really good time” at his newest show, an unabashed musical comedy. “School of Rock is fun. Hopefully, I've fleshed it out with a few catchy songs and kept the spirit of the original movie.” But Lloyd Webber adds, there’s more to School of Rock than that. “Hopefully you will also take out of it the central message of the story – which is a very warm and very simple one – which is about the empowering force of music.” 

 

 

School of Rock – The Musical is a hilarious new musical that follows Dewey Finn, an outrageous and failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by pretending to be his roommate and accepts a job as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. Once there, he realizes that his students are fantastic musicians and he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. Dewey and his students compete against adults in a Battle of the Bands contest – and changes their lives. While teaching these young fifth grade prodigies what it means to truly rock, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress, helping her rediscover the wild child within. 

 

 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Lexie Dorsett Sharp. Lexie was raised in Birmingham, Alabama and received her BFA in Musical Theatre from The Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and she plays the part of ROSALIE MULLINS who is principal of Horace Green Preparatory School (the Joan Cusack role in the movie) Lexie said, “Rosalie takes her job very seriously, she is a business woman and is no nonsense. I think that comes from the pressure of trying to run this very elite program at this very elite school.” Lexie says she can relate to her character in some ways, she too is a woman who wants to be taken seriously and be seen as assertive and successful, yet she is more casual in her real life and compared herself more to the character of Summer. Summer is one of the students and she is the manager of the band. She’s a firecracker and unafraid to tell the others, including Dewey, exactly what to do. Lexie laughed and said she is more of a cross between Rosalie and Summer in her real life. She went on to say, “In act 2 you get to see Rosalie start to transform, she becomes more humane and she and Dewey both share a mutual love for music. She shares a very relatable moment for a lot of adults of trying to look back and say man, did I lose some of my youthful energy and vision and really try to connect back to who they were before all the adult responsivities.” She continued with, “this is just an awesome moment, it’s one of my favorites scenes. Its almost like I get to play two characters, Act one Rosalie and Act 2 Rosalie because the transformation is so large, and I just love that every night!” 

 

 

Lexie said the show travels with 16 kids ages 9-13 and yes they all play their own instruments, sing, and act! Lexie referred to them as the “triple threat” because they are talented in so many ways. She said their enthusiasm and energy are contagious. “These kids travel with tutors, so they go to school during the day, have homework and field trips, then at night they are doing an Andrew Lloyd Webber rock musical, and are so fired up each and every night their energy is infection to all of us.” 

 

 

School of Rock book author, Julian Fellowes says onstage, the adaptation features a not-so-secret sauce; the kids actually play their musical instruments. Very well. “There is something very moving about that,” says Fellowes. “I mean you are sort of half moved to tears, simply by the fact that they're playing this music.” Andrew Lloyd Webber adds, “You wouldn't really think that it’s 10 and 11 year-olds! I mean, it's extraordinary for their age, just how great they are, and how together they play.” The young actors’ musical skills are showcased several times in the show, in exuberant rock numbers like “You’re in the Band,” “Stick It to the Man” and one song retained from the movie, “Teacher’s Pet.” 

 

I asked Lexie how the musical differed from the movie, she said “It has all the humor from the film but they have added so much more depth to it and you really get to see the characters develop and connect much more. You also see how transformative music can be and the real power of music in this show.” 

 

 

 

School of Rock – The Musical was nominated for four 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Lloyd Webber and Slater), Best Book (Fellowes), and Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Alex Brightman). School of Rock – The Musical also won the 2017 Oliver award for Outstanding Achievement in Music. 

 

 

Come see Lexie and the rest of the fantastic cast of School of Rock – The Musical appearing April 10-22, 2018 at the Fisher Theatre. 

 

Tickets for School of Rock – The Musical are now available online at www.broadwayindetroit.com or www.ticketmaster.com and by phone at 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Fisher Theatre box office. A limited number of premium seats will be available through Ticketmaster and at the Fisher Theatre box office. For group sales (12 or more) please call 313-871-1132 or email groups@broadwayindetroit.com. Tickets for the Open Captioned performance may be purchased in person at The Fisher Theatre box office or by phone at 313-872-1000, ext. 0. 

 

 

School of Rock – The Musical & Broadway In Detroit will participate in The Broadway League’s Kids Night On Broadway program Wednesday, April 11. For this program, a limited number of kids tickets (16 & under) will be FREE with the purchase of an ADULT ticket at full price. Special pre-show activities designed for kids and families will also take place in the Fisher Theatre and Fisher Building lobby prior to the show. For details and more information visit www.broadwayindetroit.com/kidsnight

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