Anthony J. Piccione
When I was a kid, I had a dream that many others from my generation probably had when they were growing up, as well: That one day, one of our teachers would be out sick, and we would end up with a substitute teacher for the day…only to find out that it was Jack Black, and he was here to start a rock band with us.
The reason I had this dream should be quite obvious to anyone who has good taste in movies. In 2003, the film School of Rock was released to both critical acclaim and commercial success. Today, in the minds of many people, it is considered to be a modern classic and one of the best comedies of the 21st century so far. So this should be a no-brainer, when it comes to understanding why it has been adapted into a Broadway musical that is scheduled to premiere later this year.
But the question remains: Will it be any good? Personally, I think there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic that the answer is “yes”.
Could there possibly be a better comedy over the past 15 years to adapt into a musical than this movie? When looking back at this movie and just how much fun it is, it’s almost as if it had been begging to be made into a Broadway musical. Since it takes place in a prep school classroom, it already has a ton of characters that could make for a great ensemble in a theatrical show. Plus, much of the humor and dialogue of the original film is perfect for a Broadway musical that would be entertaining for the whole family. If you ask me, nothing will ever replace the cast of the original movie. But I still think that, if the right actors are cast in this show, they can still turn in a highly entertaining performance that delivers that same kind of humor, and is as worthy of a tribute to the 2003 film as anyone can possibly get.
However, the most noteworthy factor of all – in terms of knowing whether or not this show will be great – is the fact that music plays a HUGE role in the original film. Now I can’t say that I know for certain what all the musical numbers will be like in this show, as I have yet to even see any previews of the actual show. But right now, when it comes to speculating what music could be incorporated into the show, I can already picture how some classic rock music (Maybe I’m just getting too wishful here, but I would personally love to one day see a musical that heavily featured some AC/DC music) could easily be incorporated into a musical like this. There are also plenty of original songs from the film that will inevitably be part of the musical adaptation, as well. For the sake of originality and freshness, there are also some original songs that will be added as well. If you ask me, it is the area of music where I think this show has the most potential, and I think could easily make this the most entertaining musical on Broadway by the end of 2015.
Also, I might add one more thing: I’m not sure if there’s anyone out there who thinks that this could be a commercial failure and close early on Broadway. But to those people, I have three words for you: Andrew. Lloyd. Webber. I know plenty of people who love his work, and also some people who detest the man. But you can’t deny his success in past Broadway musical endeavors. (How many years has Phantom been running on Broadway, again?) Something tells me that this will be a show that is here to stay, as it is not only based off one of the best comedies of the 2000s, but also because I can’t think of too many other living musical composers who could do a better job adapting this film for the stage.
Some will argue that – like many other musical adaptations of past material – this will be either a blockbuster that is lacking in originality at best or a colossal failure at worst. But if ask me, all of these factors seem to be an indicator that this upcoming School of Rock musical will not be those things. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, and I’ll regret writing this article by the beginning of next year. But so far, it sounds like this will turn out to be a hard-rocking, fun-filled spectacle that – like the original film – will leave audiences with a contagious case of “stick-it-to-the-man-eosis”. Personally, if it’s even slightly close to being as entertaining as the film version was, then I can already say that this will soon be at the top of my list of must-see Broadway musicals within the next year or so.