Andrew Lloyd Webber is going back to Broadway. The theatre legend is bringing classic film School Of Rock to the theatre, but it’s going to be Broadway and not the West End. For now.
Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and the Warner Music Group are producing the theatre version of Jack Black’s comedy musical, which should be on stage by the end of next year.
Laurence Conner, fresh from a production of Les Miserables (but who in theatre isn’t, really?) will direct and Lloyd Webber, together with lyricist Glenn Slater, will provide additional songs to complement those brought over from the film.
Slater gave us Brave, as well as Sister Act, so I’m looking forward to hearing what he comes up with for School Of Rock. Downton Abbey and Gosford Park creator Julian Fellowes will write the book – so keep an eye out for anachronisms, there’ll be plenty. Producer Rob Cavallo, who has played with Green Day and My Chemical Romance, will bring real rock credentials to the creative team.
There is no news of casting yet, but I must say that Jack Black’s portrayal of Dewey Finn, a down-at-hell rock musician pretending to be a teacher, was a huge reason for the popularity of the film. Black has a unique blend of humour, naivety and endearing charm that fit the role perfectly, and I can’t think of anyone who could play Finn as well.
School Of Rock, which was directed by Richard Linklater, featured songs by AC/DC, The Doors and Led Zeppelin. The musical will follow the plot of the film, in which Finn organises a class of private-school children into a band in order to redeem his reputation at a local rock competition.
Lloyd Webber seems excited for School Of Rock, perhaps because his last few West End productions haven’t done that well.
Speaking of the new musical, Lloyd Webber said, “It is a joy for me to return to my Jesus Christ Superstar roots. 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”.
Previews for School Of Rock are due to begin November 2, 2015 at the Winter Garden Theatre, with opening night set for December 6.