By Michael Ray Cantrell
Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “School of Rock” opens center stage at a rock and roll concert with thousands of fans, some screaming, others booing all there to see “No Vacancy.” No Vacancy showcases the star of Weber’s production Duey Finn on the electric guitar right before Finn is kicked out of the band. The School of Rock centers around the main character Duey Finn’s life as a no-good couch surfing, jobless, because he was recently fired from his job at the record store, struggling musician whose only goal in life is not to gain meaningful employment or to pay the back rent he owes to his best friend, Ned whom he has been mooching off for quite some time. Duey Finn only cares about music. When Ned and his fiancé known as Patty decide they are tired of Duey’s laziness and his good for nothing ways, threaten to kick him to the curb. Duey, without any place to go, decides he must do something. When Ned, a highly regarded substitute teacher gets a phone call for a job as a substitute with a high salary at a very prestigious preparatory school known as Horace Green, Duey decides to commit fraud and portray Ned taking the job for himself to help make ends meet.
During his beginning at Horace Green, Duey causes much of a disaster. On his first day, he was late for his first day of work completely underdressed in a psychedelic under attractive van and reeking of body odor and completely hung over. Quickly approached by top student Summer, Duey soon became known for his horrible teaching methods, unwillingness to listen and follow the school’s scheduling system and high standards. Duey spends most of his first day sleeping and searching for food to treat his hangover while the students are told to chill out and teach themselves.
The next day at school, Duey hears Ms. Mullins, the school principal teaching music. It’s then he realizes what the students are capable of. He decides the use the students to form the School of Rock band to win the battle of the bands competition. Manipulating Ms. Mullins into a field trip against school policy and being exposed for the fraud he is by Patty, Duey still decides to sneak the students away to the competition. The band goes on to become the winner of the competition, the school decides to make Duey the school music coach and the student’s lives are touched by Duey Finn.
The School of Rock by Andrew Lloyd Weber is based on the 2003 film with the screenplay written by Mike White. The band name was also based on the movie title. This production is full of comedy and drama. The ah moment for me is when the children sing “If only you would listen” This song has a lot of meaning behind it. There are lots of children out there who have goals they want to reach, but their parents have different goals for them. This is probably one of the greatest musicals I’ve seen in a long time. I give it a ten out of ten.
This was my first time ever seeing a musical at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. It was an experience, to say the least, and it won’t be my last. I would recommend seeing this production before it closes.
This production runs Tuesday, September 11-Sunday September 16, 2018, at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center Andrew Jackson Hall in Nashville, TN. Tickets are available at tpac.org