By Daniel Skora
The “School of Rock” is holding classes in Detroit with the National Tour of the stage version of the popular movie stopping at the Fisher Theatre for a two week engagement. The plotline parallels that of the movie, but the film’s heavy metal soundtrack has been replaced by new music from Andrew Lloyd Webber, (still rock, of course), who purchased the stage rights in 2013.
Dewey Finn, in an energetic performance by Rob Colletti that is as inspiring as Jack Black’s is in the film, is a guitarist who has just been kicked out of the rock band he has been playing in. Crashing at the apartment of his best friend Ned (Matt Bittner), he intercepts a call asking if Ned would be able to take a substitute teaching job at a prestigious school for children. Short on cash and owing rent to Ned and his ever complaining girlfriend Patty (Emily Borromeo), Dewey takes it upon himself to become a substitute not only at the school but for his best friend Ned as well.
When Dewey finds out that the fourth grade students he has been assigned have musical talents, he decides to school them in the joys of rock music and enter them in a Battle of the Bands competition that could win him a large cash prize. Not only does he have to keep his intentions secret from the kids’ parents and the other staff members, but the school’s principal Rosalie (Lexie Dorsett Sharp), as well.
Besides the highly energetic Colletti, the show features a dozen very talented youngsters (13- to 14-year old range) with some remarkable acting and musical abilities. If you’re a “School of Rock” film fan, you’ll love this entertaining companion piece. If you’ve nevewr been to Rock School, it’s a good place to begin your matriculation.
Book for “School of Rock” is by Julian Fellowes, who’s also responsible for writing “Downton Abbey”. Lyrics are by Glenn Slater, with, as previously stated, music by Mr, Webber. Set and costume design are by Anna Louizos.
“School of Rock” runs through April 22nd. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1.800.982.2787, online at www.BroadwayinDetroit.com or www.Ticketmaster.com, or in person at the Fisher Theatre box office located in the lobby of the Fisher Theatre, 3011 West Grand Blvd. Curtain time for evening performances is 7:30 p.m.