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In the words of Dewey Finn: “God of Rock, thank you for this chance to kick ass.”
That failed rock star, who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school and attempts to form a band out of his class, will become the protagonist of the Broadway-bound School of Rock — The Musical. Set for a world premiere in fall 2015, the show is based on the hit 2003 Paramount film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Mike White, who also starred alongside Jack Black.
The biggest surprise about the project is the creative team, which includes Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, artists not generally known for headbanger guitar riffs or killer drum solos.
The show will feature tunes from the movie, as well as new music by Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Slater, known for his work on such films as Disney’s Tangled, as well as Broadway musicals including The Little Mermaid and Sister Act. The book for School of Rock is being written by Fellowes, who wrote the stage version of Mary Poppins for Disney and producer Cameron Mackintosh.
“It is a joy for me to return to my Jesus Christ Superstar roots,” said Lloyd Webber. “When Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan was recording Jesus for Tim Rice and me at London’s Olympic Studios, Led Zeppelin was recording next door and a glimpse of a Stone or two was routine! School of Rock is hugely about how music can empower kids.”
Laurence Connor, currently represented on Broadway with the revival of Les Miserables, will direct the show, which is scheduled to begin previews on Nov. 2, 2015, at the Winter Garden Theatre. The official opening date is Dec. 6. Lloyd Webber’s 1980s monster hit Cats ran at the Winter Garden for 18 years.
Grammy-winning music producer Rob Cavallo, whose work with Green Day on the American Idiot album yielded a 2010 Broadway musical of the same name, has also signed on to the School of Rock creative team.
The show will be produced by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, Warner Music Group & Access Industries, the Shubert Organization and the Nederlander Organization. Casting will begin in January.
School of Rock will be Lloyd Webber’s first new musical on Broadway since 2005’s The Woman in White. Plans to bring Love Never Dies, his sequel to the still-running Phantom of the Opera, to Broadway were shelved after the 2010 show underperformed in London.
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Portia de Rossi
James Gordon Meek