School of Rock and Aladdin – Two Sure-Fire Family Broadway Musicals

1 March 2017
Read Time: 2.4 mins

Let some very talented children and adults in Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical School of Rock, transport you back to your own school days when we would of all loved to have a rebellious substitute teacher like rock star wannabe Dewey Finn.

School of Rock

Based on the film with the same name, made famous by actor and singer Jack Black, School of Rock tells story of Dewey Finn who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious boarding school. Desperate to resurrect or even establish some credibility in the rock music scene, Finn decides to enlist his students to form a rock-group and win the Battle of the Bands. This is not a crazy decision as Dewey soon sees the considerable talent that these silver-spoon fed kids have behind their repressed private school exterior.

The kids do really steal the show. (Image courtesy of Broadway Box)

For anyone who has seen the movie the show starts in a similar vein with the rambunctious aspiring rock star, Dewey having “artistic differences” with his band. So finding himself without a job, no band, and a growing rent debt, Dewey takes on the identity of his teacher flat-mate, and takes on a well paying substitute teaching role at an upmarket school.

What follows is plenty of comedy, a touch of slapstick, familiar songs for many of us, and once the kids emerge on stage another wonderful youthful dynamic plays out. The child performers have a wonderful stage presence and they are truly masterful musicians – making the rest of us mere mortals feel completely talentless!

This is a great show not just for fans of the original movie and Jack Black, but with the rock anthems, Dewey’s rock history lessons and wonderful musical performances all round, this is great entertainment for families, couples, young kids and anyone with a bit of rock nostalgia.

Aladdin

Another fantastic show currently on Broadway and guaranteed to tick all the boxes of kids, parents, grandparents and everyone in between is Aladdin. This Disney classic comes to Broadway as a musical for the very first time. And as fast as a rub on the magic lamp, the central hero of Aladdin and the audience are taken on a rainbow coloured journey of ruby red, burnished gold and deepest turquoise, accompanied by everyone's favorite songs from the Academy Award-winning movie, plus brand-new songs written specially for the production!

Disney's Aladdin recreated magically on Broadway. (Image Getty)

Outside some minor technical challenges like the magic carpet, the biggest challenge in adapting the movie for the stage was more about finding a way to recreating Robin Williams’ vocal performance as the Genie. Fortunately James Monroe Iglehart, was than up to the task with his sizeable stature. James embraces this role with all its gusto for songs like, “A Friend Like Me,” a special mash-up of a songs from other Disney shows and contemporary popular songs.

The narrative of Aladdin tells the story of the hero (Adam Jacobs) who works the role with plenty of wisecracking sidekicks. There is the obligatory spirited princess (Courtney Reed) who rebels against court tradition and wants to pick her own husband, and the ever-present obsequious villain. The love story takes a bit of a back seat in this production but the spectacle, wonderful songs and general tongue-in-cheek delivery make this a magical experience that will have every six-year to eighty-six year old on their feet clamouring for more!


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Tara Young

The experience of travel changes a person. I see my job as highlighting what amazing travel opportunities there are to broaden your knowledge of that great big world beyond your doorstep and what you may learn about yourself on the way.