Next week the West End production of School of Rock - The Musicalcelebrates its 2nd Birthday at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, having officially opened at the previously named New London Theatre on 14 November 2016, and the kids are still going strong, rocking out and sticking it to the man eight shows a week in this open-ended run! On the other side of the pond, where it all began, the Broadway production is gearing up for its third anniversary on the Great White Way, before it celebrates its final curtain call at New York's Winter Garden Theatre on 20 January 2019.
We at London Theatre thought we'd take this opportunity to connect the musical's two leading men in a special School of Rock edition of 5 Question from Over the Pond before the Broadway production bows out and ascends to musical theatre heaven.
Many of School of Rock's fans will tell you that it's the young members of the cast that audiences flock to see, playing an array of musical instruments live at every single performance. Such talent being displayed at such a young age is indeed remarkable and truly deserving of the 2017 Olivier Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Music" in recognition of the three rotating children's bands. But the corner stone of the production is, without a doubt, our main protagonist, Dewey Finn. Without a charismatic actor in the role, School of Rock would be a shadow of its current glory, as Dewey constantly keeps the energy levels and pace high, whilst also walking the fine line of character nuances between endearing and flawed. The Broadway premiere made a star out of original cast member Alex Brightman, who earned a Tony Award nomination in 2016 for his efforts and is about to star in the title role of Beetlejuicein the very same Broadway theatre from 28 March 2019. Similarly, David Fynn also earned an Olivier Award nomination for "Best Actor in a Musical" in 2017 and has gone on to star as Jos Sedley in the popular TV series "Vanity Fair".
Currently climbing to the Top of Mount Rock in the West End is Craig Gallivan, whilst Broadway's Dewey Finn for the remainder of the New York run is Justin Collette. So, without any further ado, check out Craig's answers to 5 questions from Broadway star Justin:
1. Justin: At which point in the show do you most wish you had a professional athlete’s body?
Craig: For a long while there I used to get this sinking feeling every time the intro vamp to ‘Mount Rock’ would start because I’d know that the next 4 minutes were gonna be gruelling. Man, that song doesn’t let you come up for air: relentless lyrics, knee slides, jumping off amps. It took me a good couple of months before I could enjoy performing it without haemorrhaging a lung or bleeding from the eyes (Slight exaggeration. Slight).
2. Justin: Have any of the kids broken you onstage (physically or laughingly)?
Craig: It was right in the middle of the tender moment when Zach teaches Dewey his acapella version of ‘Teachers Pet’. Mid line, and without warning, the young lad let out a mahoosive sneeze, I mean you could feel the floor vibrate. Then he just wiped his gooey nose and carried on where he left off. I think I offered up a casual “bless you” but I was a complete gonner, as was half the audience.
3. Justin: What is your favourite rock album?
Craig: Favourite album is probably Metallica’s ‘Black Album’. Although, I’m also partial to anything by Foo Fighters. I have been lucky enough to see both bands live several times. Chino from Deftones came to watch the other day too which was awesome – ‘White Pony’ is a modern classic.
4. Justin: Have you added any good jokes into the show and can I please steal them?
Craig: I’ve added the game ‘Fortnite’ to the bit where Dewey lists off examples of evils brought about by ‘The Man’. That normally gets a good laugh. You can see all the mums and dads in the audience sharing a pained look. Other than that I’ve just nicked everybody else’s gags. No point trying to reinvent the wheel.
5. Justin: How British are you?
Craig: You judge for yourself: I wake up every morning, shake off my Union Jack duvet and have a cup of tea with scones. After warming up with a rendition of ‘God Save The Queen’ in the shower (and brushing my terribly crooked teeth) I head out to join a frightfully civilised queue at the train station, make small talk about the weather, and head off to the theatre for a jolly good sing song, old boy. True story.