Rosalie Mullins is the principal of a prep school, tightly wound and devoted to her career. Enter substitute teacher Dewey Finn a struggling rock musician who discovers that some of the kids he's teaching have real musical ability. Dewy, in need of money, decides to enter the kids in a Battle of the Bands with a cash prize. Havoc, of course, ensues.
The show is School of Rock The Musical, which, of course, sprang from the School of Rock movie starring Jack Black and Joan Cusack. With a central plot point revolving around turning kids into rock musicians it was a natural for the musical stage, with one kind of big hurdle — finding kids who could actually perform live and do it well.
With typical Broadway magic that was accomplished and now the show is on the road and coming to Houston courtesy of Broadway at the Hobby. Lexie Dorsett Sharp plays Principal Mullins and calls the 16 kid musicians (12 on stage at a time with 4 on swing and ranging in age from 9-13) "awesome. They're singers, they're dancers, they're actors. They play instruments proficiently."
Sharp, who is almost six feet tall, came in to audition for two other female roles in the musical but ended up being booked as the leading lady.
She was involved in music from an early age; she started taking voice lessons at age 5 and played the piano and violin. It didn't hurt that her mother was a music teacher. The graduate of the University of Cincinnati College Conservancy of Music, has been on three other tours and although she's played in Texas before (Elf in Fort Worth) she's never been to Houston before.
The musical version of School of Rock is close to the original in plot but delves deeper into the characters, Sharp says. "You really get to know these kids and their story lines more. Also you learn a lot more about the Principal character and her relationship with Dewey Finn."
"I would say that she is a woman whose career is incredibly important to her. You see her in Act I as this very stern headmistress who is really trying to be taken seriously by the parents and other teachers of this elite preparatory school. In Act II you get to see a little bit of that facade crack and why maybe she's so stern and what she's maybe lost along the way. "
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Also what drew her to the production was the fact that Andrew Lloyd Weber's name was attached to the production. He contributed 14 new songs.
"A lot of adults come bringing their kids thinking it's more of a kids show. But it's really awesome for me to see parents enjoy it just as much,"Sharp said. "There's a big part of the audience that comes because they loved the movie."
And be prepared. Sharp says. "At the end of the show it almost becomes kind of like a concert. So at a certain point the audience becomes part of the show."
Performances of School of Rock - The Musical are scheduled for January 30 through February 4 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday ath the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information call 713-315-2525 or visit thehobbycenter.org or broadwayatthehobbycenter.com. $35-$140.