A New “School of Rock”

Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust

by | Mar 9, 2018

Throughout my years in school, I came to expect that a substitute teacher meant anything but regular class. Whether it was an uncommonly strict study hall or class clowns turning the classroom upside down, nobody ever expected to learn that day. However, this wasn’t the case at Horace Green preparatory school.

In Hennepin Theatre Trust’s presentation of “School of Rock,” the substitute teacher ends up turning the classroom upside down on his own, instead of the other way around. Dewey Finn (Rob Colletti), a wannabe rocker posing as his substitute teacher friend Ned Schneebly (Matt Bittner), turns the students into a rock band in order to help him win Battle of the Bands after he was kicked out of his own group.

Rob Coletti as Dewey Finn and Phoenix Schuman as Zack Mooneyham rock out back to back on their guitars. Photo by Matthew Murphy.Matthew Murphy, courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust

Rob Coletti and Phoenix Schuman in “School of Rock.”

Throughout his time with the students, Dewey gets to know the students beyond their hardworking exterior and discovers their hidden talents. Freddy (Gilberto Moratti-Hamilton) becomes a drummer, Zack (Phoenix Schuman) plays guitar, Katie (Theodora Silverman) switches from cello to bass, Summer (Ava Briglia) shines as band manager, and quiet Tomika (Gianna Harris) breaks out in song. In addition, Dewey gets to know the principal Rosalie (Lexie Dorsett Sharp) and realizes that she, too, has a hidden love for music, no matter how she tries to hide it. Although secrets are kept and rules are ignored, broken relationships are healed when the students stick up for what they love.

The heartwarming bond between student and (substitute) teacher in “School of Rock” reminds us of the mentors in our lives that have helped us pursue what’s important. In addition, we get to see the effect that the students had on Dewey, too.

Although “School of Rock” is based off of the popular movie featuring Jack Black, even people who have seen the movie will get a whole new experience. Fourteen new songs dominate the show, as well as the child actors and actresses that play their instruments live. “Stick It to the Man” will be your new anthem when things don't go quite your way, and “If Only You Would Listen” strikes a chord when the students express their feelings to their parents.

The humor and witty quips and raw talent of the entire cast will enthrall you in this heartwarming musical of a familiar tale. Be sure to see it at the Orpheum before it’s gone on March 11!

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