‘School of Rock’ Jams Kaua‘i
Laurie Cicotello has a Master of Arts in Teaching 6-12 performing arts and language arts from Hastings College in Nebraska. Laurie has spent the past seven years writing cast/crew bios for Mānoa Valley Theatre. She crewed numerous shows and films in Honolulu before moving to Kaua‘i in 2012 to work as a writer and editor.
Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac once sang that dreams are “like a heartbeat, drives you mad in the stillness of remembering what you had and what you lost.”
In the Hawai‘i Children’s Theatre production of School of Rock, The Musical: Youth Production, social misfit Dewey Finn (Pierce Bivens) finds his dreams of being a rock star put on hold in a classic rock story as he confronts the idea of “adulting” too restrictive for his inner wild child.
School of Rock is being performed at War Memorial Theatre in Līhuʻe on Kauaʻi. Director Ed Eaton does an exceptional job handling a huge cast of young performers.
Dewey Finn’s best friend—and temporary roommate—Ned Schneebly (Taj Gutierrez), has settled into marital bliss with Patty (Trinity Kerwin) while working as a substitute teacher to make ends meet after giving up his own dream of playing guitar in a rock band.
Finn fears his dreams of stardom will go gentle into the good night while searching for a new band to perform with before a major band competition after being ousted from his first band for being more of a diva than the lead singer.
One afternoon, Finn answers a phone call from head master Rosalie Mullins (Sabryn Rudinoff) of the prestigious Horace Green School, who was calling to hire Schneebly as a substitute. Sensing an opportunity to make some rent money, Finn accepts the job under his roommate’s name.
In typical Finn fashion, he rolls in late on his first day and figures he can cruise and let the students do their own thing. He quickly realizes that there is nothing worse than a classroom full of kids who are bored out of their mind.
Pretty soon, Finn busts out his guitar and shows his dream of being a rocker to the students. He decides to form a band comprised of students and draws up band roles for each of them, even appointing one enterprising student as the band’s manager and another as costume designer.
Teachers slowly notice changes in the attitudes of their students after “Ned Schneebly,” arrived on campus, but are not quite sure of what is happening.
Lost like cats in cradles of aspirations for their children while at the same time ignoring them, parents are schooled by their kids in the song, “If Only You Would Listen,” in an attempt to tell them who they really are.
At the same time, one student, Tomika (Jackson Gamby), admits to Finn that she never got involved in the band activities because she aspires to be the lead singer and not just a backup singer. She proves her chops by singing an acapella version of “Amazing Grace.”
Throughout the show, Headmaster Mullins proves herself to be one of the best singers in the production. The entire cast does a beautiful job of not only singing, but also of playing instruments live, including Lawrence (Tanner Hubbard) who was super cute rocking the keyboards with his Mohawk and glasses.
The age range of the students is also a huge plus in School of Rock as older actors were enlisted to portray adults and younger actors played students. In terms of educational theatre, this kind of modeling can be very useful as older kids help keep the younger ones in line and teach them stagecraft.
We left the theatre singing “Stick it to the Man,” and were compelled to find the nearest karaoke bar in town to pursue the dream of being up in the spotlight, even for a brief moment.