‘School of Rock’ is In Session

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From left: Austin Kring, Jake Parks, Parker Gates, Ben Fletcher, Noelle Hammond. Photos by Michele Celentano

It’s hard to imagine anyone measuring up to Jack Black’s performance of Dewey Finn in the movie, “School of Rock.” But in this week’s local stage production, Parker Gates, 15, gets his chance to break a leg.

“Parker is very much like Dewey… he is overly enthusiastic and has a huge stage persona,” said Jonathan Nilsen, music director for the production, a joint effort by Rhapsody School of Music and the Musical Theatre of Anthem.

Like the 2003 film, the musical follows the adventures of Finn, a fake substitute teacher, as he fulfills his rock-star dreams vicariously through the students of a prominent prep school. Here’s what Nilsen says about the supporting cast of kid rockers:

Jake Parks, 10 (guitar): “Jake is a little monster on the guitar and can outplay pretty much any kid his age.”

Noelle Hammond, 10 (bass): “Noelle is my little protege. She has played bass for one year now and can play and sing ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson 5. Quite a feat for a 10-year-old.”

Austin Kring, 8 (drums): “Austin is a machine on the drums. Although he can barely reach the cymbals, he packs a mean punch.”

Ben Fletcher, 10 (keyboard): “Ben is classically trained but has found a new love for the Hammond B3 Organ.”

The production will include 41 kids ages 8-18. Rhapsody’s owner Sean Maplethorpe explains, “School of Rock is not an easy score and requires children with real musical chops and talent… We can’t wait to see them tear up the MTA stage.”

School of Rock
7 p.m., Thursday, July 20
Noon and 7 p.m., Friday, July 21
4 and 7 p.m., Saturday, July 22
3 p.m., Sunday, July 23
Musical Theatre of Anthem
42323 N. Vision Way Anthem, AZ 85086

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Merrill Gardens • 623-201-4881
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SonoranScapes Landscaping • 602-842-9948
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Ciatlin Coulter
NoPho resident Caitlin Struchen launched her journalism career when she joined In&Out Publications as event listings editor in 2017. She has a bachelor of science degree in communication from Arizona State University.

Ciatlin Coulter

NoPho resident Caitlin Struchen launched her journalism career when she joined In&Out Publications as event listings editor in 2017. She has a bachelor of science degree in communication from Arizona State University.

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