Last Wednesday and Thursday saw the Y8 cast of School of Rock bring months of work together. Performing three times in two days, they raised the roof with an all-singing, all-dancing, joyful, funny and touching rendition of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s hit musical.
Auditions were last September and since then we had worked to a very demanding rehearsal schedule meeting four, five or six times a week to go through scenes and songs. The original script suggests a maximum cast of 40. We had 61! But it is a fun, fast paced show with catchy songs and a story that children and adults can enjoy. So there was no part of the whole experience that was troublesome.
Throughout the rehearsals we were led by the inspiring energy of Dom Ward who played Dewey Finn. If you have seen School of Rock, you will know that the lead character of Dewey Finn is a comical ‘loser’ who refuses to make a quantum leap in adulthood. Instead he lives with the dream that one day he will be a rock star. Dom, it seemed from the outset, was born to play Dewey and he embraced the character instantly. On stage last week, his performance was exceptional. He was supported by a truly fantastic cast including Sam Smith who played his henpecked old friend and band mate, Ned Schneebly. Maddy Scott, who was an all too convincing, fearsome Head teacher, Rosalie Mullins and James Raspin, who brilliantly played Zack Moonyham, the pupil whose Dad doesn’t believe in him. Talia Ismail played Tomika, the quiet young pupil who finds her voice with the help of the teaching imposter! The show is a scream and ALL the pupils, however small their part, were fabulous and shone on stage.
This year, as an exception, we were even able to have one of our Year 8s joining the professional musicians in the band: Ruhan Verma actually drummed the full score of School of Rock for every performance, setting a new standard of musical excellence that we have not seen before in a Year 8 show.
In School of Rock we created memories that we will treasure and for me, it was one of the happiest and most upbeat shows I have had the pleasure to direct.
Here is what some of the cast had to say:
“It was fantastic; something I will never forget!” James 8JC
“I loved the quote, ‘Principles can’t be funny! When it comes to their kids, people have no sense of humour!’ It was Amazing! Stick it to the Man!” Maddy 8RG
“School of Rock has been a blast. Thank you, Mrs Russo for teaching me to stick it to the man!” Ruhan 8CM
“It was really fun. I got to know more people and I’m joining a Drama School. And I’m going to learn bass!” Georgia 8AM
“This has been the most enjoyable experience in my 5 years at Belmont. Thanks for making it unforgettable!” Christos 8JI
“School of Rock taught me to rock harder, dream bigger, live more fiercely and to raise other peoples’ voices up. It sent me to heaven and back with a guitar in my hand. There’s no way you can stop the SCHOOL OF ROCK!” – my final bow. Dom 8VR