“School of Rock, The Musical” coming to Mansfield, Ohio

Ingrid Schmidt

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When a cast full of students dressed in prep-school uniforms walks onto stage, the audience doesn’t necessarily expect them to start shredding guitars and pounding on drum sets.  

However, this is exactly what audiences can expect this weekend.

School of Rock, The Musical features cast members ages 9-18.

Based on the hit movie with actor and musician Jack Black, the show tells the tale of guitarist, Dewey Finn.  

Having been kicked out of his band, Finn is desperate for work.

So, he poses as a substitute teacher at a strict private elementary school and introduces his students to the world of rebellion and hard rock music.

The Mansfield Youth Theatre has never done a musical quite like this one. 

The production features live music played by middle-school students.

“I have on occasion, been able to have live musicians onstage, but I’ve not had the opportunity to work with instrumentalists onstage that are this age,” said Dauphne Maloney, the director of the production. “We’ve got 10-12 year olds playing drums. I like the edginess; I want the audience to be cognizant of what the kids are doing.”

Having a live band onstage adds to the difficulty of a live theatre performance.

The production crew has to be careful to make sure that all of the extra equipment is working so that the sound design will run more smoothly.

“The fact that they’re mixing a live band onstage and having to deal with all of the sound and the tracks for the actual show, it’s hugely technically complex,” said Anne Kurtzman, one of the parent stage-managers.

Both Kurtzman and Maloney hope the students involved in the production will take away something meaningful from the show.

“I know that they come out of there with an appreciation for the teamwork involved and remember what it means for everybody to have their job,” said Kurtzman.

Maloney wants the students to also leave with a newfound sense of confidence and pride in their work.

“I think that being onstage can always boost your confidence; I think that is so valuable for young people,” said Maloney.

Everyone working on the show is very excited to present their hard work to a live audience.  

Above all, Maloney wants the audience to have fun and connect with the music.

“I hope that this is one of those productions where people walks out wanting to see it again and singing one of the songs,” said Maloney. “I think this is an awesome experience, and I hope that people who normally wouldn’t come see theatre, will come out and see it.”

School of Rock, The Musical is coming to the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, Ohio on Sept. 9-11. Tickets are $15 for general admission.

For more information, visit http://mansfieldtickets.com/tickets-events/event-schedule/eventdetail/155/-/-.

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