Photo by Don Kellogg

Monday, December 28, 2015

School of Rock

I may likely have had the most fun at what I perceived as the least anticipated show of the season.  (Ok, The Color Purple may be the actual show at that rung of the ladder, but I digress).   I was indeed 'schooled' by the best on a Monday nite.

Sure, the movie was dumb.  I can't really say the adapted book for this musical was superior in any way.  I was pleasantly surprised that the music by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself was catchy, upbeat, toe-tappin', and appropriate for the raucous riot that occurs onstage 8 shows a week at the Winter Garden Theater.  I wasn't surprised by talented kids on stage - I expected it.  And my expectations were indeed surpassed.  The talented kids were played like a well tuned Fender by none other than the abundantly talented and uber-energetic Alex Brightman (Dewey). He ran that stage from the first minute to the last with what seemed like endless enthusiasm and boundless charisma.  The story is essentially him and the school kids.

Of course, this is a musical so we have to have other characters. If you want to sell tickets, these other characters must also have songs.  It was a thrill to see Sierra Boggess (Rosalie) on stage, but what a waste she was at the same time.  Of course she had to have a song.  Of course it ran the show longer than it should have run.  Of course this was repeated over the course of a few of the parents and teachers.  In a movie we would not have wasted so much time just to balance out the tickets and justify the lead equity contracts.  But again, I digress.

Parents and teachers were all fine, unmemorable, and frankly could give anyone their "big break" on Broadway and I hope it does.  The show is a big ball of fun and everyone on the stage looks like this is afternoon playtime, not a stressful performance.  Mr. Brightman and these kids are the stars and deserve all the credit to the fun of the evening under the swift direction of Laurence Connor.  Sloppy and abrupt scene changes and a book like Swiss cheese will all be ignored.  Class dismissed.