School of Rock – the Musical

‘School of Rock: The Musical’ is a wild rock show about an American Year 8 class. Not only is this show suitable for all children aged 6 and over, but they will LOVE it. With music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Glenn Slater, the show is based on a book by actor Julian Fellowes. Fellowes is famous for being the playwright who devised and wrote ‘Gosford Park’ – for which he won an Oscar. He also wrote all the episodes of ‘Downton Abbey’ and the recent series ‘Belgravia’. Despite being born in Egypt, he had a very upper-class English accent, so he appeared in TV adaptations of Dickens’ novels and most of ‘Monarch of the Glen’ series as the lord of the manor.

THE SEATING: sadly, is limited to 50%, so must be booked in advance. Proof of vaccination is essential and strictly enforced.

This Koorliny Arts Centre and Kwinana Industries Council production is being presented in Theatre 1 at the Koorliny Arts Centre, 10 Hutchins Way / 1 Sulphur Road, Kwinana This action packed, two and a half-hour show has curtain-up at 7.30 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings until the 19th of March. On Saturday, the 12th and 19th there are also matinées at 2.00 pm. with a final show at 5.00 pm on Sunday 13th March.

A warm welcome to the new General Manager, Justin Friend and the Operations Administrator, Katherine Friend who have joined Koorliny.

The Scene:           A top notch American High School. 2010

The set:                Stephen Carr, Peter Carr, with Danika Bentley. A most versatile design. On curtain-up there was a rear semi-circular wall made of four or five panels, each of which rotated to give a second set, including two band settings, Dewey’s bedroom, á school classroom, and a bar with a ‘real’ jukebox.

Scenic Art:           Some great pop posters from Peter Carr

Set Construction: Stephen Carr, Peter Carr, Sarah Connolly and T Mutta Bielby – with the assistance of cast and parents.

Props Design:     pioneering ideas from Bella Baker who was assisted by Kira Bolitho and Kiri Siva.

Lighting Design/Operator:           Great work by Chloe Palliser

Follow Spots:     by Jonathan Hoey and Cameron Ramsell. You know follow spot operators are good when you barely notice them. Well done.

Sound Design/Operator:               Sarah Connolly made the place ROCK

AV Design:          Jonathan Hoey

Stage manager: Madison Laine Thomas and Head Assistant Stage Manager Natasha Weir had to supervise and enact the numerous scene changes involving heavy props. The stage crew Keely Moloney, Oakley Ferreira, Jocelyn Dale, Cat Broom, Simon Oxley, Saipriya Clements, and Mickayla Ronanyne were fast efficient, well-focused and silent – several scene changes taking place whilst acting took part on the stage. Very good.

Marketing, Publicity, Poster, and Programme thanks again Monique Mulligan for quality artwork.

Production Photography, Christian Ingram  (Deprimo Photography) and Natasha Weir, with Headshots/Videography Blake Jenkins

A rock band called No Vacancy is performing, however, the band’s guitarist Dewey Finn (Callum Presbury) wants to be a major rock star, so constantly tries to upstage the lead singer, no surprise, the group kick him out. Having failed so miserably, this Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath fan spends most of his day lying on his bed at his friends’ flat with a hangover. However, Dewey has not paid Patty Di Marco (Asha Perry) and her out of work teacher, boyfriend Ned Schneebly (Alex Hutchings) any rent for weeks. Domineering Patty is furious, but weak nervous Ned Schneebly is scared to speak out against her.

The phone rings, it is Rosalie Mullins (Grace Johnson), principal of the prestigious Horace Green School. She is offering Ned a post as substitute teacher at her school. Impersonating Ned, Dewey accepts the position and goes to the school. Uptight Miss Mullins points out that the parents pay $50,000 per year per pupil so the highest standards must be maintained, although secretly she would love to be carefree again.

Totally out of his depth and now wild and desperate, this naive, dim-witted and being more childish than his students, Dewey tries to teach them music. An anxious student, Summer Hathaway (Kiara Chidgzey), tries to explain to him how the classes are run, but Dewey is disgusted by the rigidity of the system.

At the apartment, secret heavy metal fan, nerdy Ned plays with his computerised guitar. When Dewey comes home, he joins Ned in a belting session.

The next day at school, Dewey tells his students that they’re now a part of his new band set and are about to compete in the Battle of the Bands. He selects his instrumentalists. There is the son of an uptight businessman(Peter ‘Pear’ Carr) who has no time for his children, shy Zack Mooneyham (Jack Dudek) on electric guitar who also writes songs. Introvert, Katie Travis (Tuppence Cornelius) boldly strums on her bass whilst having an emotionless face. Lawrence Turner (Ash Brady) on a keyboard, is a tense child who is gluten intolerant, he does not believe that he is  cool enough to be a part of the band but stays in the band as he secretly fancies Tomika Spencer-Williams (Jordi Askew). Then there is wild Freddie Hamilton (Logan Bin Bakar) on drums, a disruptive boy but a great musician totally unappreciated by his father.

Young Shonelle (Charlotte Sampson) and Marcy (Brianna Campbell) with voices of angels, are selected as backup singers and podium dancers; with their two friends Madison (Indigo Fraser) and Sophie (Amelia Tourtouris) recruited as roadies. Supersmart, nerdy Mason (Peregrine Carr) oversees lighting and gruff James (Matthew Ballantine) as the security officer for the Group, he acts as lookout for their rehearsals. The band is coming together.

Young enthusiastic and flamboyant Billy Sanford (Eli Dale) suggests that he becomes the band’s stylist, not a footballer like all his mother (Amber Anderson) wants him to be.

Summer, a high-achieving girl who hates nonsense is angry that she has so much talent but has not been given a job;  so, Dewey makes her the band’s manager. Only Tomika, the shy new girl is jobless. Tomika does not like to talk to the others, then Dewey discovers she is a highly gifted singer.

Will this thrown-together group possibly make it to the finals?

The ‘extras’ included Nicole George, Bree Hartley, Jason Nettle, Christian Dichiera, Jake Lippiatt, Cait Griffiths, Charlie Dudek, Tadhg Lawrence, Bradley Towton, Gabrielle Sampson, Tori Brown, Tiahna McBride, Diana Moss, Lacey Allen Maisy Grierson, Ruby Slater, Amber Fuller and Chloë Salmond. As you may notice, many of these extras are highly experienced actors who have volunteered in order to help the flow of the show and give confidence to the youngsters.

Costume Design: by Danika Bentley covered dozens of school ties, a surprise onesie, and some innovative ideas for the band. The effects were created with a great deal of help from Cat Broom and Jane Tero.

Director Stephen Carr has a great knack of reading between the lines of a script, knowing his punters and shaping the show to fill every second with fun for the audience. In this case even 6- or 7-year-olds will love the action. The storyline is simple but still has tension and excitement that all ages can understand. Stephen has selected a great cast, with many of the youngsters being locals in their first major production.

Musical Director: You know you are getting old when you look at a policeman and think he cannot even be eighteen yet. Well, Musical Director Megan Anne – who looks about sixteen – has shone once again. With experience in many aspects of the theatre and several large musical productions on her CV, Megan gave us drama, soft passages and a little headbanging from her professional orchestra (in a room at the side of the stage), and a little heavy metal from her live student band on stage. Twice the work – but it paid off magnificently.

The professional musicians were Keyboard I – Michael P. Baker, Keyboard II – Leanne Van Heerwaarden, Guitar – Kieran Ridgway, Bass – Tobias Findlay-Abel and Drums – Anthony Leadbetter.

Choreographer: Ashleigh Winter had about 2-dozen youngsters to teach and control, but this cast was no ordinary bunch they were alive, alert and bouncing with energy as they cartwheeled (yes, Callum even did a few!!), back flipped through their routines. Because of the rock theme, Ash introduced Kung Foo kicks and stomping. Some very tricky procedures, but not a single performer let her down. They were in perfect sync, radiated smiles and gave it their all.

With sombre times like this, The School of Rock will brighten everyone up and get the entire family rocking. This is the best production with youngsters (age range from 9 to 15 with most being around 11 or 12) that I have seen in years. With the strong direction, coupled with the enthusiasm and comradery of the central character, the kids were motivated and alive.

A fabulous stage version of Jack Black’s much loved 2003 film. The tickets are hard to get – but try. Callum is deserving of an award nomination, and the whole show will hopefully get the award for a Youth Production.