The School of Rock is about to get in session.
For the first time – the classic musical is coming north of the border for its first ever Canadian youth production courtesy of Original Kids Theatre Company.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic tale tells of a failed wanna-be rocker teaching kids the fundamentals of rock and roll music.
School of Rock tells the story of Dewey Finn, a failed rock star who decides to pose as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school – only to invoke his own rock and roll curriculum.
Jack Phoenix plays the role of Dewey and he understands that he’s got some big shoes to fill.
“You’re stuck from the beginning because Jack Black made this role so iconic and so him,” Phoenix said.
“You have to make it your own but you still need to pay homage, sort of a tip of the hat to what he created because the film and musical are slightly different – but there’s a lot of original lines now so you make them your own because they’ve never been delivered by Jack Black.”
When it comes to playing the iconic role of Dewey, Phoenix who considers himself a pretty big rock and roll fan – added that he’s ecstatic about the opportunity.
“In a weird way I’ve been working my whole life for this kind of show – all the stars have sort of aligned for that.”
When Original Kids heard of Webber’s plans to make production licensing available in schools across the U.S. and Canada – they decided to hop on the rock and roll bandwagon.
Colleen Moodie is a Beal Musical Theatre student who plays the role of the stern Principal Rosa Lee Mullins.
“Had my audition about a month earlier and I’ve been worried,” she said.
“I was like ‘I hope I get to do this show, it might be my last show,’ and so hearing that I got the role and got to be apart of Original Kids one last time and sort of go out with a big bang – it’s so exciting for me.”
The OKTC production features a 28 member cast of kids – all of whom play their own instruments in the show.
Phoenix noted how the kids have evolved all through the rehearsal process for the production.
“They just blossomed and have grown. It’s completely mirrored the show I mean we started rehearsals with these kids and watched them grow into their instruments,” Phoenix said.
“It was like a real life School of Rock-moment.”
Moodie feels that it’s the ideal production for kids and adults alike.
“Yeah, it goes with Original Kids core values and it has so many opportunities especially for the younger kids to learn and grow in a professional theatre environment.”
Phoenix adds that it’s a great way to connect young and old audiences through a classic musical that really gets people bobbing their heads.
“It is a family movie, it is kid friendly but it’s also so good for adult audiences which I think is the perfect fit for this season and looking at the show and the themes – it aligns perfectly with Original Kids and is a nice bookend to the season.”
If you want to rock your way to the top with this School of Rock – you’d better get your tickets now because Original Kids has sold out around 75 shows since last September with seven of those productions being complete sell outs.
They expect similar results for School of Rock.
The show runs from July 7th to the 9th and again from the 13th to the 16th and tickets can be purchased online at originalkids.ca or at the box office of the Spriet Family Theatre.