The new musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber arrives on Broadway this December, and fans of actor Jack Black already know the show’s material pretty well.
The newest show by “The Phantom of the Opera” composer Webber is “School of Rock,” which is based on the 2003 movie of the same name. The film version of “School” stars Mr. Black as a substitute teacher who loves rock and roll and forms a band with his students.
The rock-based score echoes previous work by Webber like the 1970s musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which was also heavy on the electric guitar.
The upcoming musical is far from the first to be based on a film. Current Broadway productions that take their inspiration from the big screen include “Finding Neverland,” which is based on the 2004 J.M. Barrie biopic of the same name; “Aladdin,” which is based on the 1992 Disney animated movie; “An American in Paris,” which takes its story from the 1951 movie with actor Gene Kelly; and the long-running “The Lion King,” which is based on the 1994 Disney movie.
Winners for the prestigious best musical Tony Award have been split between book-based properties, movie-based musicals, and original shows within the last several years, showing that a movie-based show can certainly succeed critically. This past summer saw the book-based musical “Fun Home” take the best musical Tony, while the 2014 best musical was “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” which is based on the novel “Israel Rank” by Roy Horniman. But 2013 and 2012 saw two movie-based musicals, “Kinky Boots” and “Once,” taking the best musical prize. A little further back, 2009’s winner, “Billy Elliot,” was also inspired by a film.
As for “School of Rock,” a new video released by those behind the musical is an interesting one, depicting not only a musical number from the show titled “You’re in the Band” but also offering a 360-degree visual so viewers can explore the stage set.
Those behind “School of Rock” have already uploaded videos of musical numbers from “School” and interviews to the show’s dedicated YouTube channel and the production has a Twitter account. This Internet and social media engagement is normal now for Broadway shows – almost all of the productions currently on Broadway have Twitter accounts and many musicals that recently debuted, like “Finding Neverland,” “Hamilton,” and “Fun Home,” have also had YouTube channels. Other recent shows have taken it even further, like the recent Idina Menzel musical “If/Then,” which asked viewers to send in tales of a time when a moment influenced their life (an idea echoed in the musical).