From screen to stage: how ‘School of Rock’ came to be a musical

School of Rock the Musical

School of Rock The Musical brings down the house eight shows a week at the Winter Garden Theater in New York, in the West End, and on tour! Let’s take a journey from screen to stage….

The Movie

Screenwriter Mike White got the idea for the movie from the Langley Schools Music Project, where Canadian music teacher Hans Fenger recorded two LPs with grade school students singing hits by The Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, and more. Over twenty years later, the LPs were combined into the album “Innocence and Despair” and gained much attention – even inspiring a VH1 documentary reuniting the students in 2002. The pairing of old-school classics sung by some rockin’ kids proved to be the perfect ingredients for a hit movie. The film was produced by Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures, written by Mike White, and directed by Richard Linklater. The film featured breakout star Jack Black as the good-intentioned die-hard rock and roller Dewey Finn. The film’s music included iconic rock songs from The Doors, The Clash, and several other classic bands. Even Led Zeppelin, known for not distributing rights for their music, granted them permission to include “Immigrant Song” after the production team filmed Jack Black on set begging the band to use the song. The production team sent the video to the band and the plan worked! The movie was released in 2003, opened at number one, and was nominated and won several awards. Audiences and critics agreed that the show was a riot!

The Musical

A decade later, in 2013, the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber secured the stage rights to the show and producers put plans into motion for a Broadway takeover. Casting directors held open auditions at the beginning of 2015 to find the most talented rock and roll kids in town. It was later announced that Broadway stars Alex Brightman and Sierra Boggess would lead the show as Dewey and Rosalie. Laurence Connor would direct the show, with lyrics by Glenn Slater, a book by Julian Fellowes and new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Development concerts were presented in June 2015 and the show finally opened December 6, 2015 at the Winter Garden Theater. Today the show has companies on Broadway, in the West End, and touring across the U.S.A.

The tour makes its way to Nashville September 11-16! Tickets are available now at TPAC.org