“School of Rock” is coming to SIUE

If you – or your children – have dreamed of being a rock star, Curtains Up Theater Company makes the show for you.

Curtains Up presents “School of Rock” May 12-15 at the Denham Theater at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

“School of Rock” is a rock musical with the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes.

Based on the 2003 film of the same name, written by Mike White, the musical follows Dewey Finn (played by Jack Black in the film), an unemployed rock singer and guitarist who pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prestigious. preparatory School.


“School of Rock” was a huge box office success after its release in 2003 and opened with a Broadway musical adaptation in December 2015.

Howard Bell is the Curtains Up production director on “School of Rock” with Carol Hudson, Vince Ojeda as assistant directors, and Steve Schinger as music director.

“We have a cast of 15 kids on the show, ages 8 to 14, as well as 20 adults,” said Hudson, vice president and artistic director of Curtains Up Theater Company. Kids are from Edwardsville, Glenn Carbon, Collinsville, Belleville, O’Fallon and many other cities.

“We wanted to put this show on really badly, but we knew we couldn’t do it right unless we could find some talented kids who were also musicians. We found them and it was blowing my mind every day to look them rehearsing. I can’t believe how good they are” .

Like Hodson, Bell was impressed by the talent of young artists.

“One of the kids is taking some piano lessons, but now he’s learning to play guitar and Steve’s daughter is learning how to play guitar,” Bell said. “One of our drummers played for two years in his church, but that’s a completely different view for him.

“To have these kids, who are of middle school age, play so well is amazing. We’re able to bring the cast together with equally amazing adults, both in the other troupe that Dewey is playing in and in the singing that they do.”

Bill feels that people of all ages can relate to the music and the story of “School of Rock”.

“People will be making the comparison, especially with the movie, and I think they will be surprised at how well each of our teams perform and the characterizations our kids make,” Bell said. “For me, this is a story about belonging and knowing where you can belong, and I think that’s what will connect with our audience.”

Meanwhile, Schinger is from Maskota, where his daughter Dara, 12, plays Katie, who started as a cello player in an orchestra and became a bass player in a rock band.

“She’s never played bass before, so she’s learning on the job and she’s enjoying it,” Schenninger said. “We have a great group of kids as students at Horace Green Prep. A lot of them are vocally talented and do a great job too.

“Part of the production is that they will be playing live on stage in this rock band. Kids learn their instruments on the go and they absorb them like little sponges.”

Joel Springer plays the lead role of Dewey Fenn. Finn is a native of Maryville, and graduated from Collinsville High School, where he is best known as an athlete.

“I have very little acting background other than two high school plays that weren’t musicals, so this is my first play,” Springer said. “One of my friends, who is also in the play, had an ad on Facebook about auditions and ‘School of Rock’ is one of our favorite movies as a family.

“My kids and my wife wanted to try performing that, and they dragged me with me and I got the title role. I’m kind of a real-life Dewey Finn, except I’ve held a steady job most of my life.”

For Springer, acting in “School of Rock” is a family affair.

“What makes it so special for me is being there with my two sons and my wife, and it’s really nice to see them doing something new because neither of us have done music before,” Springer said. “As Howard said, the story is about belonging, knowing who you are, what is special about you, and why being different is a good thing.”

Debbie Maneke, of Edwardsville, plays Rosalie Mullins, principal of Horace Green Prep.

“I’ve done a lot of stage shows and my last production was Patsy Cline in Always Patsy Cline, which gave two shows at Alton Little Theater and once at Wildey Theatre,” Maneke said. “I’ve never done anything with Curtains Up, but I thought ‘School of Rock’ would be really fun.

“I watched the (musical) production of him at the Fox Theater and enjoyed it, especially the director’s role. The kids are great, and I think everyone’s interaction is more fun in a live production and the director has a lot to do.”

Jacob Devine plays Ned Schneebly, Dewey’s roommate and best friend, who previously dreamed of being a rock star but gave up.

“Ned is a substitute teacher and Dewey, the main character, takes his place and steals his identity in order to teach at the school,” Devin said. “Ned has a girlfriend now and has moved somewhat of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Dewey doesn’t pay the rent and that’s why he takes the job as a substitute teacher, because Ned is threatening to fire him.

“I just moved here a few months ago from Minnesota and am a substitute teacher now (in Edwardsville) just like my character. I haven’t been in a play in eight years and as an undergraduate student in theater it’s been a huge part of my life. I recently took theater and did speech training and I thought That this would be a good way to meet people, connect with the community and do something outside my comfort zone.”

Kristi Luster, who grew up in Edwardsville and now lives in St. Louis, plays Patti DiMarco, Ned’s friend.

“I’ve been working with Curtains Up since I was a kid and have known a lot of people at this company for a long time, and loved the movie version of ‘School of Rock.’ I was 12 or 13 when I came out, so it was the right age for me to become obsessed with,” Luster said. .

“Patty is not a fan of Dewey and she has a bit of a voice of reason on the show, although her voice can be quite mean. But it is fun to play the villain.”

“School of Rock” tickets can be purchased at schoolofrocktickets.com or https://cutc.ticketleap.com. Do not contact the SIUE box office.

The performances will be from May 12 to 14 at 7:30 pm, while the performance will be on May 15 at 2 pm

For more information, call 618-830-5822 or email [email protected]

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