"School of Rock - the Musical!" - by Andrew Lloyd Webber - Sterling Community Theatre (Sterling, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The "Stones" CAST of the musical "SCHOOL OF ROCK," by Julian Fellowes and Andrew Lloyd Webber, now playing at Sterling Community Theatre in Sterling, MAnow playing through September 23, 2023Photo Credit: Dawn Ross)

By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

It may sound easy, but nothing could be harder. It will test your head, and your mind, and your brain, too."  
                                                                            - ("Dewey Finn") / Julian Fellowes

Sterling Community Theatre 

Presents Andrew Lloyd Webber's


Book by Julian Fellowes

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Lyrics by Glenn Slater

Based upon the movie "School of Rock" by Mike White.

Directed by Kate Sheridan

Music Director Mike Hoffmann

Choreography by Kaden Scopelliti

Produced by E. Leigh Zongrone

Cast Includes: Doug Dame as “Dewey Finn”; Melissa Gates as “Rosalie Mullins”; Danny Rodriguez as “Ned Schneebly”; Rachel Twiss as “Patty DiMarco”; LaurieAnn Millard as “Mrs. Sheinkopf”; Luke Esposito as “Gabe Brown”; Hayley Blackmer as “Jeff Sanderson”; Michael Audet & Timmy Chase as “Security Guards”; Mikhail Gelineau as “Stanley/Policeman”; Gina Powers as “Mrs. Mooneyham”; Peter Rezac as “Mr. Williams”; Jeffrey Ford as “Mr. Spencer”; Robin Bartlett as “Mrs. Hathaway”; Matt Valeri as “Mr. Hamilton”; Jody Ryan as “Mr. Sandford” 

“HORACE GREEN STUDENTS” Performing September 16, 22 & 23: Eliza Brown as “Summer Hathaway”; Izavy Landestoy as “Tommy Spencer-Williams”; Amelia Ryan as “Freddy Hamilton”; Amelia Cormier as “Laura Turner”; Cailyn Kindorf as “Katie Travis”; James DeSisto as “Billy Sandford”; Adeline Reza as “Marcy”; Joslyn Kyle as “Shonelle”; Alice Myles as “Madison”; Claire Hacket as “Sophie”; Isaac Linscott as “Mason Ward”; Tegan Fraticelli as “James.” 

“HORACE GREEN STUDENTS” Performing September 15, 16 (at 2:00pm show), & September 23 (at 7:30pm show): Julia Feeley as “Summer Hathaway”; Eloisa Barraza as “Tomika Spencer-Williams”; Alex Wilhelm as “Zack Mooneyham”; Blake Ross as “Freddy Hamilton”; Zander Ramey as “Lawrence Turner”; Xavier Cormier as “Kaden Travis”; Ryan Rollo as “Billy Sandford”; Rachel Worden as “Marcy”; Luci Adams as “Shonelle”; Makayla Marlow as “Madison”; Lily McEvoy as” Sophie”; Andy Beshaw as “Mason Ward”; Aidan Hughes as “James”. 

“HORACE GREEN TEENS” (PREFECTS/GROUPIES):  Cecelia Barraza, Scarlett DeSisto, Amelia Powers, Delaney Rezac 

“NO VACANCY”: Steven Sousa as “Theo”; Jody Ryan as “Doug”; Lisa Rosenkrans as “Bobbie”; Luke Esposito as “Snake”. 

ADULT ENSEMBLE:  Dawn Ross, Cathy Powers, and Lisa Rosenkrans, Lynn Valeri, Vee Kansau, Drew Romanski, Mikhail Gelineau, Steven Sousa, Jody Ryan, Cathy Powers, Lisa Rosenkrans, Matt Valeri, Dawn Ross, Michael Audet, Timmy Chase, and Hayley Blackmer. 

“FANTASY DANCERS”:  Michael Audet, Hayley Blackmer, Timmy Chase, Dawn Ross.

All shows are performed in the Parish Hall of the First Church in Sterling, 6 Meetinghouse Hill Road, Sterling, MA 01564 


September 15, 16, 22 & 23, 2023

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times) 


For all questions regarding tickets please send an email to scttickets@gmail.com 


SCHOOL OF ROCK is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of The Really Useful Group. www.concordtheatricals.com 


Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

Sterling Community Theatre (SCT) presents the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical adaptation of the movie “SCHOOL OF ROCK” and, unmistakably, this show rocks, for sure. 

With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes, “SCHOOL OF ROCK” is based on the 2003 film of the same name, written by Mike White and starring Jack Black

The musical premiered on Broadway in 2015 starring future “Beetlejuice the Musical” star Alex Brightman as the Jack Black character. 

Before his recent disaster "Bad Cinderella,out of all the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, “SCHOOL OF ROCK” seemed the least "Webber-ish." 

There is no "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" or "Memory" or "Music of the Night" found here but the score does contain some great tunes like the fun rocker, "Stick It to the Man,the tender ballad "If Only You Would Listen" and the show's title song, “SCHOOL OF ROCK," all of which are quite good on their own.     

The musical became a smash and ran for over 1,300 performances. 

While nominated for numerous industry accolades, the only award it would ultimately receive was the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music for “Three children's bands who play music live every night.” 

As the story begins, we meet out of work rocker Dewey Finn (Doug Dame) a guitarist who, kicked out of his band “No Vacancy,” is desperate for employment…well, cash, really. 

Dame's performance makes it seem that the role was written with him in mind. He owns the part and is a fun ball of energy from the outset, never letting up.

Dewey pretends to be a substitute music teacher at a prestigious prep school, the Horace Green School, working for a strict principal, Rosalie Mullins (Melissa Gates). 

Gates is pleasant in the role of the stern Rosalie, totally landing her song, "Where Did the Rock Go."

(Photo: Danny Rodriguez as "Ned Schneebly" and Doug Dame as "Dewey Finn" rock out in the musical "SCHOOL OF ROCK" from Andrew Lloyd Webber, now playing at Sterling Community Theatre in Sterling, MAnow playing through September 23, 2023Photo Credit: Suzanne Vantre)

Unengaged at first, Dewey soon discovers the musical talent inherent in his fifth-grader students, which sparks his interest. 

Then, Dewey makes the preposterous decision to turn them into his own rock band, in an equally ludicrous attempt to win an upcoming “Battle of the Bands.” 

“Preposterous?” “Ludicrous?” 

Yes – but also, thanks to inspired direction by Kate Sheridan, “SCHOOL OF ROCK,is thoroughly delightful in its execution, especially as we observe these conformist, overachieving, straight–A pupils transmogrify into an unbridled, non-conformist, axe-wielding, headbanging rock band. 

The cast playing the students deserve high praise for performing double duty not only as their characters but actually playing music as part of Dewey's "band." 

The musicians in the orchestra performing the music for the balance of the show, under the capable guidance of Music Director Mike Hoffman, also rocked the house.

While Dewey isn’t a real teacher (with his students suffering personally and academically as a result), he soon finds himself connecting with them and, in the process, learns a few lessons from them, as well.

(Photo: Alex Wilhelm as "Zack Mooneyham" with the CAST of the musical "SCHOOL OF ROCK" from Andrew Lloyd Webber, now playing at Sterling Community Theatre in Sterling, MAnow playing through September 23, 2023Photo Credit: Suzanne Vantre)

Choreography by Kaden Scopelliti is creative, captivating and perfectly suited to the Webber score, providing some of the show's finest visual on stage moments, particularly during  "Stick It to the Man," "Where Did the Rock Go?" and "When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock."  

One curious bit of staging may have had some in the audience wondering as to why four specific "Horace Green school girls" keep winding up in scenes with the adults - the teacher's break room, parents meetings, etc. 

They seem to be simply there to augment the music and choreography and, if this is the intent, they do so quite well. 

The production has many commendable elements including a terrific set design. 

The "Roadhouse" set is particular impressive - basic but with a fine attention to detail. In addition, the set allows for some specialized intelligent lighting to be projected along the back. 

There is also the use of portable shutter sets, which allows for greater ease of set changes. Kudos to David Allen Prescott, Robert Hill, Marc Hill, Stage Manager Jillian Whitney, the entire creative team, set builders, painters and stage crew.

A drum set on stage seemed too far forward along the curtain line during the September 15th performance, occasionally getting caught in the curtain.

(Photo: The "Stones" CAST of the musical "SCHOOL OF ROCK" - Top row L-R Zander Ramey, Lily McEvoy, Alex Wilhelm, Andy Beshaw, Xavier Cormier, Aidan Hughes, Eloisa Barraza; Bottom row L-R Ryan Rollo, Luci Adams, Julia Feeley, Rachel Worden, Blake Ross, Makayla Marlow, now playing at Sterling Community Theatre in Sterling, MAnow playing through September 23, 2023Photo Credit: Dawn Ross)

Lighting and sound issues dominated the September 15th performance. 

For sound there was a serious imbalance in that many body microphones were either completely off or turned on far too late. Also, given the acoustics within the venue, the combination of the marvelous orchestra and onstage musicians made it nearly impossible to hear much of the dialogue, at times. 

For lights, during "If Only You Would Listen" in the first act, there was also a problem with isolation issues which left some of the cast singing in the dark. 

The above was unfortunate, as it was during a song which truly allows us to learn more about the relationships between the students and their parents. Thankfully, the incredibly talented young performers overcame this and still gave outstanding and insightful performances.

It should be noted, any of the above minor complaints never detracted from the overall enjoyment of the show by the audience. 

Costumes were all appropriate for the show for the school and "Battle of the Bands" segments. The matching school uniforms were particularly impressive.

The contribution of "Downton Abbey" creator and main writer Julian Fellowes should not be overlooked when it comes to evaluating the musical adaptation of "SCHOOL OF ROCK." 

Fellowes has a keen sense of relationships when it comes to characters and the relationships in the book he provided for this musical truly enhances the more one-dimensional original screenplay by Mike White.

Ultimately, if this musical does seem (to some) to be one of the least "Webber-ish" of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, at least it is still a fun show and one of his better musical adaptations.

If bands are like families - and many times they are - then the ultimate reason to see  “SCHOOL OF ROCK” is for Doug Dame's "Dewey" character and the obvious affection he comes to have once he bonds with the incredibly talented "family" members of his new "band." 

“SCHOOL OF ROCK” continues until September 23rd in Sterling and, while some strong, "adult" language is in the show, it still makes for an enjoyable family night out. Some shows are already sold out so make sure to call in advance.

Approximately two hours, 20 minutes with one intermission.

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 




Rock got no reason, rock got no rhyme…You better get me to school on time! 

Andrew Lloyd Webber's “SCHOOL OF ROCK - THE MUSICAL!” is a two-hour, two-act show (plus intermission), based on the hit movie. 

The tuner follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. 

There he turns a class of straight–A pupils into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. 

But can he get them to the "Battle of the Bands" without their parents and the school’s headmistress finding out? 

Lloyd Webber produced the stage musical on Broadway and in the West End, penning 14 new numbers for the show, which additionally features all of the original songs from the movie. 

The composer’s tracks “You’re in the Band” and “Stick it to the Man” are well on their way to becoming rock solid standards, while the finale with “Teacher’s Pet” brings audiences to their feet, eight shows a week. 

“SCHOOL OF ROCK - THE MUSICAL!” with its sensational live kids’ rock band, is a loving testimony to the transforming power of music. 

May the spirit of rock be with all who pledge allegiance to Lloyd Webber’s newest hit!


STERLING COMMUNITY THEATRE (SCT) strives to provide an outreach of fellowship and cultural enrichment, centered on family and community, by facilitating high quality theatre arts experiences within the greater Sterling community.  We seek to cultivate an appreciation of the performing arts by offering live performances, educating through experience, participating in community activities, and through cooperation with other local performing arts groups and The First Church of Sterling. SCT strives to offer a range of challenging, creative opportunities that inspire and allow people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in productions, whether on stage or behind the scenes.  Every year SCT aims to experience growth by expanding participation, encouraging volunteering, and increasing our audience and involvement within the community. .