School of Rock: Kidzu Playhouse’s Regional Premiere of the Broadway Hit is a Face-Melting, Hard Rockin’ Good Time
Hernando, Mississippi, November 8, 2017 – Kidzu Playhouse’s high-octane, rock and roll-filled regional premiere of School of Rock the Musical Youth Production is energizing audiences through November 12, 2017, at the Hernando Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $12 for children/students/seniors and $17 for adults and can be purchased online at kudzuplayers.com or at the box office on any show day beginning one hour before curtain time. All seating is general admission. The show is rated PG for some language.
School of Rock the Musical Youth Production is a new musical based on the famous Paramount film written by Mike White, which starred Jack Black. The musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. Completely disinterested in academic work, Dewey decides to create his own curriculum, turning his class into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.
The stage musical on Broadway is produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who composed 14 new songs to create a score, which also features original songs from the movie. The show has been nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. School of Rock, with its sensational live youth rock band, is a loving testimony to the transforming power of music.
“It is very rare to obtain the performance rights to a show still on Broadway, especially one that recently opened,” says Joi Taylor, Executive Director of Kudzu Playhouse. “Andrew Lloyd Webber felt it was important to allow youth to experience this story, so the rights to the ‘Youth Production’ were released and we jumped on it. There are so many incredibly talented kids in this area, we wanted to give them an unprecedented opportunity to show what they’re capable of doing.”
Kidzu’s production features a cast of more than forty youth, ages 6 to 17, many of whom are relative newcomers to live theatre. Director Daphne Cox, choreographer Lori Payne, and musical director Justin Bixler challenged the cast with some of the most demanding vocals, musical numbers, and choreography ever seen in a kid’s production. Plus, there was the added challenge of playing instruments live on-stage.
“I have directed over 100 shows, but never one quite like this,” says Cox. “I had to find five kids who played instruments live on stage and turn them into rock stars. Plus, they needed to sing and dance! When we started this journey, I would tell the kids at rehearsal that they had to work hard to meet me at the top of Mt. Rock. It was a long and tedious rehearsal process that got us there. It was a lot of dedication and even a few tears, but we made it, with a lot of help!”
The cast is led by Orpheum HSMTA Supporting Actor Winner, Riley Young, 17, as Dewey Finn, Cate Amis, 15, as Principal Rosalie Mullins, Matthew Cox, 15, as Ned Schneebly and Riley Paige Lara, 17, as Patty. Shredding faces as students are Gabe Smith (Zach), Caroline Mosely (Katie), Jaydon Thompson (Freddy), Grady Sartain (Lawrence), Alyssa Sheppard (Summer), and Shelby Smith (Tomika).
Kidzu Playhouse’s School of Rock the Musical Youth Production runs through this weekend – November 9, 10 and 11 at 7 p.m., and November 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. at the Hernando Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $17 and $12 and available at kudzuplayers.com or at the box office. The show is rated PG.
Photo credit: Bryan Cox