I’m just going to say this – no one can compete with Jack Black when it comes to his stellar performance as Dewey Finn in the 2003 music comedy ‘School of Rock.’ That said, Rob Colletti delivers an impressive interpretation of the deadbeat rocker turned substitute teacher in the touring musical now making a run at Fair Park’s Music Hall.
Scripted by Andrew Lloyd Webber (the creative mind behind the greats such as ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and “Phantom of the Opera’), Webber’s take on the well-liked comedy seemed a bit out of his wheelhouse.
The story, for those unfamiliar, begins when Dewey impersonates his friend Ned (Matt Bittner) as a substitute teacher, only to identify real musical talent in his preppy students and an opportunity to reenter the Battle of the Bands after getting kicked out of his last band.
The Broadway adaptation smoothly follows a near exact storyline seen in the well-liked movie, which makes it kind of hard not to compare the two – at first.
However, once you get past the fact that the incredibly talented Joan Cusack isn’t the uptight Miss Mullins; Sarah Silverman isn’t the annoying girlfriend; and this Dewe Flinn is a little less cool guy and a little more in tune with Gabriel Iglesias, better known as Fluffy the comedian – that laugh, though – it’s easy to fall in love with all the musical does deliver.
To start, the showcase of genuinely talented young musicians who were bringing life to the drums, guitars, and keyboards on stage took my breath away. Their talent made me, a 38-year-old woman who has a thing or two to brag about, feel rather unaccomplished. I honestly couldn’t clap enough for them.
The highlight, all be it a sad one, was when they sang ‘If Only You Would Listen,’ to parents that don’t.
Colletti, in his own right, brought such a positive and energetic spin to Dewey with killer vocals, impressive energy, and fantastic comedic timing.
Another stand out moment was when Dallas actor and SMU alumnus John Campione, an understudy for Dewey’s friend and roommate, Ned, stepped into the part on Wednesday’s opening-night show.
My favorite part, or parts, is when the children song my favorite number, “Stick it to the man.” Man, that song is catchy, and their dance moves had me dancing in my seat.
‘School of Rock – The Musical’ will continue at the Music Hall at Fair Park through Aug. 29 and then make a run at Bass Performance Hall from Aug. 28 to Sept. 2.
Tickets for the Dallas show start at $20 and are on sale at Dallassummermusicals.com.