The School of Rock musical teaches audiences to channel their inner rocker.
Playing at Houston’s Hobby Center January 30-February 4, the hilarious hit stars Rob Colletti as Dewey, Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Rosalie Mullins, Matt Bittner as Ned, and Emily Borromeo as Patty. The musical, based on the 2003 film, features music from the movie, as well as an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school, Horace Green School, and is soon turning students into full-on rocker prodigies. The nervous headmistress Ms. Mullins undergoes the same magical transformation.
We talked about this inspiring show with Lexie Dorsett Sharp, who plays the soon-to-be-transformed headmistress, Rosalie Mullins.
Tell us about Ms. Mullins.
Rosalie is a young woman running an elite, very successful, prep school. In act one, you watch her dealing with the challenges of proving herself to the parents and teachers. We watch Rosalie find an inner strength. In act two, we see Dewey Finn shake up a different side of Rosalie. We see her become reconnected with who she was before she embarked on her career.
How does the musical differ from the movie?
The movie is a jumping off point for our show. If you are a fan of the movie, you will still hear your favorite lines and some of your favorite songs. If you are unfamiliar with the movie, you can still enjoy the show independently without knowledge of the movie.
Do you channel Joan Cusack from the movie version in your onstage performance of Rosalie Mullins? How do you make the character your own?
Joan Cusack is a comedic genius. I pay homage to what has come before me with the role, but I definitely use it as a jumping off point to take ownership of the character. I do work hard to find moments of humor in the show as well as moments of heart. I think it’s important to portray women in musicals, plays, or on television as real, complex women and not one-dimensional.
Andrew Lloyd Webber runs a foundation in England that has provided 3,000 disadvantaged schoolchildren free violins and training. How do you think school music programs can impact a child’s success?
I grew up in the arts and playing a multitude of instruments. My mother was an elementary school music teacher, and so the arts were always at the center of my extracurricular activities. I started voice lessons when I was six, played the violin for ten years, and took piano lessons. In my experience, my musical background was an outlet for me to explore creativity, practice the art of craft, and quite literally harmonize and create with others. In both personal experiences of being a student and teaching music, (I have taught at several camps and private studios) I have seen music provide students with discipline, ensemble skills, confidence, and connection.
What is your favorite scene in the musical?
My favorite part of the show every night is the bar scene with Dewey before my song. You start to see the prim and proper facade of Rosalie start to crack. You learn about why she might be misunderstood as stern, and it is followed with a song that I feel so lucky to sing every night called “Where Did the Rock Go?” If you ask me, it is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best songs, and to be leading lady who gets to belt it out every night is an incredible highlight of my career thus far.
The song is incredibly relatable to every adult who has lost his/her inner child or inner rocker somewhere along the way. It’s a song about reinvesting and exploring who you were and finding balance to the child you once were and the adult you’ve become. I’ve sung it over a hundreds of times at this point, but I’m still finding a deeper connection and new meaning within the lyrics.
Why should kids see this musical? What have been some of their reactions to seeing other children playing instruments?
Kids love our show! They are watching kids their age rock out on stage and exude skill and confidence. I think kids can inspire other kids in a unique way. They see these kids on stage and think, “I can do that!” It’s incredible to feel the energy at the stage door after the show and see how our show has impacted the youngest audience members.
School of Rock The Musical runs Jan.30-Feb. 4 at Hobby Center in Houston. Tickets start at $35.
Cover photo Hernando Umana and Rob Colletti in the School of Rock Tour. © Matthew Murphy