Review: 'School of Rock The Musical' Rocks Minneapolis

Review: 'School of Rock The Musical' Rocks Minneapolis Photo: Credit: Matthew Murphy

March 07, 2018 10:03 PM

"School of Rock The Musical" opened at The Orpheum in Minneapolis on Tuesday night.

From the first scene to the closing scene, the audience was laughing, crying and likely imagining their own childhood as they connected with any of the amazingly talented child actors.


This show is full of wit and charm.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's hilarious new musical is based on the hit film "School of Rock".

It features Dewey Finn, played by a very energetic Rob Coletti, a hopeful rock star who poses as a substitute teacher at a very prestigious prep school. The Horace Green School is filled with incredibly talented students. While teaching the class what it means to truly rock — instead of math or social studies — Dewey helps the kids realize the true talent within each of them. Meanwhile, Dewey falls for the school's uptight headmistress Rosalie Mullins, played by the talented Lexie Dorsett Sharp. He also helps Principal Mullins rediscover her love of music that had been somewhat forgotten and replaced with more serious matters as she became an adult.

What's most exciting about this rocking show is that the children are performing live on stage. Can you imagine being a bashful Tomika, played by Gianna Harris, and having the courage to sing your heart out at the Battle of the Bands?

The musical includes 12 new songs with Zack (Phoenix Schuman) on electric guitar, Katie (Theodora Silverman) on bass, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) on keyboard and Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) on drums. Dewey makes Shonelle (Olivia Bucknor) and Marcy (Chloe Anne Garcia) backup singers. Sophie (Gabriella Uhl) is a roadie. Then he moves onto technical jobs. Mason (Carson Hodges) is the tech, James (Tommy Ragen) is the security officer and an ecstatic Billy (John Michael Pitera) is the band's stylist. Summer (Ava Briglia) is angry that she hasn't been given a job and has no desire to be a groupie. Dewey then makes her the band's manager, which is the perfect job for her.

Members of the audience can easily connect with one or more characters. We've all known a Ned Schneebly (Matt Bittner), a self-proclaimed nerd who is pushed around by his beautiful, yet very bossy girlfriend Patty. Maybe you were the new kid in town like Tomika, or felt uncool like Lawrence. Maybe you were like all of the kids vying for an ounce of their parent's attention, or maybe you read Vogue while your dad prayed you would follow in his footsteps and play football.

It was touching to hear the kids perform "If You Would Only Listen" and later they energetically perform "Stick It to the Man." Those were among many standouts throughout Act I.

"School of Rock The Musical" will welcome eight new cast members to the national tour next week on March 13. Rocking their way across the country will be Minnesota native Huxley Westemeier as Billy, Alyssa Emily Marvin as Marcy, Grier Burke as Tomika, Vincent Molden as Zack and Iara Nemirovsky as Summer. Jack Suarez Kimmel, Cameron Trueblood and Jesse Sparks will join the kid's ensemble.

Huxley is thrilled to play Billy in the national tour of School of Rock. Recent credits include The Guthrie Theater's "Watch on the Rhine" and The Ordway's "Jesus Christ Superstar."

"School of Rock The Musical" runs through Sunday at The Orpheum. Tickets are still available.



Sarina Long

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