School of Rock Hits the Hippodrome
By Sofia Weddle
Jack Black may be known most infamously for his starring role in the 2003 blockbuster, School of Rock. With its touching storyline, hilarious jokes, and amazingly talented kid musicians, the film was bound to become a hit not only on the big screen, but across stages worldwide.
In 2015, School of Rock made its musical debut on Broadway that quickly attracted the hearts of all people and families. With a script written by beloved Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes, and a group of child rockstar prodigies, continuous standing ovations were no surprise to the theatre community. The show is performed not only on Broadway, but in London, Australia, and across the United States for its second nationwide tour. Recently, School of Rock traveled to the Baltimore Hippodrome to dazzle the Maryland community with its musical triumphs.
The show’s plot revolves around Dewey-- a struggling rock artist who pretends to be his roommate Ned Schneebly, a substitute teacher, at the elementary prep school Horris Green to make some extra cash. While “teaching”, Dewey creates a rock band out of his genius students in order to perform at the Battle of the Bands. Along the way, he simultaneously gets a love interest in the strict Horris Green principal and begins to care about his students. Undoubtedly, this show was chock full of moments of both uncontrollable laughter and teary eyes.
Rob Colletti played Dewey with insistent amusement and heartwarming emotion that was further emphasized by his quick-witted one-liners. Allusions to pop culture, such as to the Kardashians, Barbara Streisand, and Taylor Swift, were abundant and easily received by the audience. The set-- a mixture of classrooms, a band stage, and Neil’s couch reserved for secret Guitar Hero sessions-- moved with seamless transitions. Sara Michalski, a Junior at Glenelg who saw School of Rock at the hippodrome, believes that, “the sets were really amazing and well-prepared.” The school uniforms, reminiscent of Hogwarts, combined perfect amounts of academia and hard-core rock.
However, the most impressive parts of School of Rock were when the kids were given a chance to exhibit their impressive musical mastery. Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, who plays drummer Freddy, and Jack Suarez Kimmel, also known as rock guitarist Zack, were jaw-dropping. One would have thought Aerosmith or Led Zeppelin were performing. Katie Morrogh, a Junior at Glenelg who also saw the show, says that, “the kids were very talented and it was was impressive that they could play those instruments so well at a very young age.” If there was any doubt that the young actors were actually playing their instruments, an announcement before the show forewarned that their skills were genuine. No lip-syncing here, Mariah.
The show is truly a hit. If it wasn’t evident from School of Rock’s numerous tours and hilarious storyline, the music sells it. While the musical has already left Baltimore, there’s still a chance to catch the radically astounding cast on their national United States tour or on the epitomic street of Broadway. As a wise Jack Black described the musical: “I laughed. I cried. I rocked.”
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