West End’s School of Rock – The Musical – Gary Trainor to take over lead role

6. back Oliver Jackson (Ned Schneebly)

Oliver Jackson and new Dewey, Gary Trainor, in School of Rock. Picture: Tristram Kenton

Gary Trainor will step into the leading role of Dewey Finn in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Olivier Award-winning School of Rock – The Musical later this month.

The actor, who has played the alternate Dewey since the show’s London premiere, will lead the cast from 17 May with Stephen Leask joining the cast as the new alternate Dewey.

Trainor’s previous theatre credits include Beautiful – The Carole King Musical and I Can’t Sing!, while Leask has appeared in One Man, Two Guvnors and Into the Woods.

Trainor will head an adult cast that includes Florence Andrews as Rosalie Mullins, Oliver Jackson as Ned Schneebly and Preeya Kalidas as Patty Di Marco.

The ‘grown up’ cast is completed by Leask as the alternate Dewey with ensemble members Jonathan Bourne, Nadeem Crowe, Michelle Francis, Rosanna Hyland, Cassandra McCowan, Joel Montague, Andy Rees, Cameron Sharp, Andrew Spillett, Alex Tomkins and Lucy Vandi and swings, Charlotte Bradford, Jason Denton, Cellen Chugg Jones, Alfie Parker and Tasha Sheridan. The adults are joined on stage at each performance by one of three teams of 13 young performers who make up Dewey’s band.

The search for new young classmates to join the show at a later date is currently ongoing with open auditions scheduled for Tuesday 23 and Thursday 25 May in London, Saturday 10 June in Sheffield, Saturday 15 July in Birmingham, Saturday 23 September in Liverpool, and Monday 20 and Wednesday 22 November in London.

With booking now extended for the third time (until 14 January 2018), the show features music from the hit 2003 film as well as new works written by Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater, and a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

Best seats for £10 are available every Wednesday evening an hour before curtain to purchase as part of the School of Rock – The Musical Student Rush scheme. These tickets are only available in person from the New London Theatre box office.

A hit with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, the show was the first new musical from a British composer and producer to make its debut on Broadway.

Following on from a critically acclaimed world premiere in November 2015, the Broadway production continues to play to packed houses and has also recently extended its booking period into 2018.

The West End production featuring TV comedy star David Fynn as the wannabe rocker turned teacher, originally played by Jack Black in the film, was similarly well-received when it opened in London last year.

School of Rock – The Musical is directed by Laurence Connor with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, set and costume designs by Anna Louizos, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Mick Potter and music supervision by John Rigby, with Matt Smith as musical director.

In February School of Rock helped Lloyd Webber become the first composer in 60 years to have four shows on Broadway since Rodgers and Hammerstein. The milestone was reached when Sunset Boulevard joined School of Rock, Cats and The Phantom Of The Opera.

Angela Thomas

Tickets for School of Rock – The Musical are available HERE.

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