Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, School of Rock, based on the 2003 film starring Jack Black, is currently playing to packed houses on Broadway. Less than a year after it opened at the Winter Garden Theatre, Lloyd Webber is bringing it over to us in London.
Stepping to the shoes of Jack Black as Dewey Finn is David Fynn, who has worked with the National Theatre the Donmar Warehouse and the RSC. His television credits include Game of Thrones, The Inbetweeners and Sherlock.
Joining him as headmistress Rosalie Mullins is Florence Andrews, whose numerous theatre credits include Miss Atomic Bomb, Once and Wicked. They are joined by Oliver Jackson as Ned Schneebly and Preeya Kalidas as Patty Di Marco.
The show also includes a large cast of 39 children who work in 3 teams as the students of Horace Green School.
At today’s Press Launch, one group of the child cast alongside Fynn performed 3 songs from the show, ‘Teahcers Pet’, ‘If Only You Would Listen’, and ‘Stick It To The Man’. Lloyd Webber stressed that the kids play ‘absolutely live’ and it was amazing to watch this group of talented children who have only been rehearsing for 3 days. It is clear from seeing these short pieces from the show, that by the time it opens at the end of next month, London is going to enjoy this show, just as much as people are on Broadway.
When asked what attracted him to writing the show, Lloyd Webber said it came from his children’s love of the film. He realised it was a perfect subject for a musical because it is about the love of music and that ‘Music empowers. Every character is somehow changed through music.’
Fellows said he grew up with rock music and joked that writing the show was a ‘natural fit after Downton’. He said the characters of the children have been deepened, and that through writing the show, he has been able to explore their backstories more, which requires the kids to not only sing and play their instruments live, but also to act.
Connor himself was in a rock band when he was younger (though would not reveal the name of it). He said of finding the child cast that they were overwhelmed by the amount of talent that auditioned, that they could actually be choosy when finding 39 kids. He said they were expecting to have to set up a ‘School of Rock training camp’ to get them to the standard they needed to be for the show, but they all came through the door at an exceptional level.
David Fynn was one of the people they initially auditioned for the role of Dewey on Broadway and they thought of him immediately for the London show, even before a transfer was definite. From today’s performance, it looks like they have made a good decision.
It is very clear from today’s performances and from the creative teams love of the story this show is going to be something very special.
School of Rock runs at the New London Theatre from October 24th.
By Elliot Wallis
Comedy star David Fynn will star as Dewey Finn, the role made famous by Jack Black in the film. His television credits include The Inbetweeners, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, a series regular in Pete vs Life for Channel 4 and Undateable for NBC/Comedy Central. On stage he has appeared at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and at the Donmar Warehouse in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He is joined by Florence Andrews as Rosalie Mullins, Oliver Jackson as Ned Schneebly and Preeya Kalidas as Patty Di Marco. Please see accompanying document for cast and creative biographies.
The ‘grown up’ cast is completed by Gary Trainor as the alternate Dewey with ensemble members Jonathan Bourne, Nadeem Crowe, Michelle Francis, Rosanna Hyland, Cassandra McCowan, Joel Montague, Andy Rees, Cameron Sharp, Tasha Sheridan, Andrew Spillett and Lucy Vandi and swings, Charlotte Bradford, Jason Denton, Cellen Chugg James, Chris Jenkins, Alfie Parker and Charlotte Scott.
School of Rock at the New London Theatre
166 Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5PW