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School of Rock National Tour

The kids are the stars in School of Rock, the Broadway tour that is currently in town playing at the Orpheum theater this week. The Andrew Lloyd Webber (of Phantom of the Opera and Evita fame) musical is based off of the 2003 Jack Black movie about a down and out musician who frauds his way into a private school as a substitute teacher and ends up turning his class into a band. I have mixed feelings about the show. I feel like there are many things that they did right, and many things that could be improved upon. There is one thing that is clear, the upbeat show would not work without the multi talented actors on stage.

The kids were a clear highlight of the show for me. Not only did they sing, dance and act, they also played their own instruments. They carry so much energy and the show would not be what it is without them. The story at its heart is about music and the arts being a way to give children a voice. It is a fact that is hard to deny, but also seems to be forgotten in our current education system. When I was talking to my fellow blogger Becki from Compendium after the show she mentioned how it was great to see the importance of arts educators highlighted on stage and I couldn’t agree more. All the kids in the show were able to effectively show their transformation. Watching all of the characters open up was a joy to watch and I couldn’t help but smile.

My complaint is the tone of many of the jokes seem stuck in the early 21st century when the movie School of Rock was released. I would like to think that we have moved past fat jokes and stereotypical physical representation of gay characters but if anything School of Rock the musical, like the movie leans into these jokes. Too their credit the musical also included a large amount of mixed race families which was refreshing to see.

School of Rock delivers a heart warming story presented with upbeat music that is sure to get stuck in your head, performed by outstandingly talented young performers. If you are a fan of the original Jack Black movie you will like the musical. It is playing at the Orpheum theater in downtown Minneapolis through this Sunday. Click here for more information on how to get tickets.

*Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

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