Cherry Hill West Theater ready to rock as the one of the first South Jersey schools to perform the musical version of “School of Rock”
The musical will be performed at Cherry Hill West beginning on Dec. 2. The show will run through Dec. 10.
One of the latest films to be made into a Broadway musical is set to premiere at Cherry Hill High School West on Dec. 2.
Cherry Hill West will perform its fall musical, “School of Rock,” at the Cherry Hill West new auditorium during the first two weekends of December. Cherry Hill West will be one of the first schools in South Jersey to perform the musical. The musical is still new to Broadway, having only debuted last December.
The Broadway musical is based on the 2003 film, “School of Rock,” featuring Jack Black. In the show, Dewey Finn, a struggling musician, disguises himself as a substitute teacher after being kicked out of his band. He then forms a band out of his fifth-grade class and attempts to win a Battle of the Bands contest with them.
Senior Edward Nogowski will play the role of Finn, the same character Black plays in the film. Nogowski is one of a number of students performing in their first musicals this December. “School of Rock” features a number of live musical performances, necessitating the cast to be made up of a combination of singers and instrumentalists.
Despite never performing in a musical before this year, Nogowski was pumped when he learned about “School of Rock” coming to Cherry Hill West.
“I was 100 percent down for it,” Nogowski said. “I auditioned and got the role.”
Nogowski plays a lot of solo and acoustic music during his spare time. While he is experienced on the guitar and singing, memorizing lines and acting are new to him.
“The toughest thing is memorizing my lines,” Nogowski said. “I’m pretty good with memorizing lyrics, but when it comes to actual lines and there’s over 200 lines, it’s a bit of a challenge.”
Another unique aspect of the show is the number of middle school students with parts in the play. With a good portion of the cast made up of Finn’s class, Cherry Hill middle schoolers were cast to play the students. Beck, Carusi and Rosa International middle schools are all represented in the show.
Beck seventh grader Charlie Bove plays Zack, a guitarist in the show. Like Nogowski, this is Bove’s first performance in a musical.
“I heard that they needed a guitarist,” Bove said. “My elementary school teacher recommended me for the part, so I came in and played one of the songs and got the part.”
Nogowski had a lot of praise for Bove, saying his guitar skills are exceptional for someone his age.
“Charlie is insane at guitar,” Nogowski said. “I’ve been playing the same amount of time he has, and he blows me out of the water.”
Senior Amelia Paulson, playing the role of Rosalie Mullins, is one of the actors who has performed in past Cherry Hill West musicals. Paulson describes “School of Rock” as a musical with a completely different feel than the musicals the school has performed in recent years such as “Mary Poppins” and “The Little Mermaid.”
“The biggest difference is they have to play live instruments on stage, which I think adds a really cool aspect,” Paulson said.
Paulson said having a combined cast of middle and high school students has been a lot of fun and feels it is a great learning experience for the younger kids.
“They’re rock stars,” Paulson said. “They’re rock stars in the show and rock stars off the stage. It’s really great working with them.”
Members of the cast feel fans of the movie will love the musical. The story and characters are nearly the same in the stage show, but there is a lot of additional music.
“They should expect a lot of the same one-liners that Jack Black puts into that movie,” Paulson said. “It does a really good job of sticking to the movie.”
“If you like the movie and you can sit down and enjoy it without skipping through scenes, you will like the play,” Nogowski said.
“School of Rock” will be performed on Dec. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and on Dec. 4 and 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit www.showtix4u.com or call (856) 663–8006 ext. 1224.