“School of Rock – the Musical” is a Hit with Critics
Upon its opening night, School of Rock – the Musical received rave reviews from critics far and wide. The musical was perhaps a surprising choice for its producer and composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical great whose past works include Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Woman in White, Sunset Boulevard, and The Phantom of the Opera. However, upon the critical response hitting the press, it was proven that Webber and his production house, the Really Useful Group, were not so crazy after all. With a book by Julian Fellowes (Mary Poppins), and lyrics by Glenn Slater (Sister Act, Leap of Faith, The Little Mermaid), School of Rock – the Musical is based off the popular 2003 American comedy film of the same name. As that film already incorporated some music, Andrew Lloyd Webber composed a series of songs but also included some numbers from the film. The musical is directed by Laurence Connor (Les Misérables) and choreographed by JoAnn M. Hunter (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever). The cast is led by Alex Brightman (Big Fish, Matilda the Musical) in the role of Dewey, the pretend substitute teacher who ends up leading his students on a rock and roll adventure, alongside Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, It Shoulda Been You) as Rosalie, the school principal with whom he develops a flirtation.
Though the Really Useful Group is a London-based production company, Andrew Lloyd Webber and his team decided to premiere the musical in New York, as they felt that it was a more appropriate piece for American audiences. However, given that it was a smash hit in the U.S., they are now gearing up for a West End run as well, in the fall of 2016 at the London Palladium. Furthermore, the show will go on the road in the U.S., launching in the fall of 2017. Confirming the musical’s hit status, Ben Brantley of The New York Times called it “rejuvenating” and Webber’s “friskiest in decades.” David Cote from Time Out New York said, “wow, does it work on Broadway,” and called it a “jolt of adrenaline and sugar.” Marilyn Stasio from Variety called it an exuberant, feel-good musical, and declared that Alex Brightman, though no Jack Black, has his own brand of scruffy charm. Jeremy Gerard from Deadline says it’s the perfect show for Baby Boomers and their grandchildren both, praising Webber’s contributions to the score. David Rooney from the Hollywood Reporter loved the show as well, and he especially liked the joyous performance from the ensemble of children.
Broke into the Millionaire’s Club
The box office for School of Rock – the Musical has a long way to go to compete with the top shows on Broadway, but it has made it into the millionaire’s club for two weeks of its run so far. The last reported week of box office figures, the week ending December 20, 2015, School of Rock brought in $1,023,108, which represents 71.45% of its gross potential. The record week so far was the week ending November 29, 2015, when the weekly gross was $1,304,251, representing 89.56% of its gross potential. That week, with a top ticket price of $248.00, the average paid admission was $112.40, and the average audience capacity was 97.6%. School of Rock is presently scheduled for an open-ended run, and it does not seem to be leaving the Winter Garden Theatre anytime soon.