Class in session

LIHUE — For those about to rock, we salute you.

A box office hit, a popular Broadway production and now, on stage for the first time, “School of Rock” will be brought to the Kauai Memorial Convention Hall by the Hawaii Children’s Theatre on Friday, Nov. 11 and will run for three weeks until Sunday, Nov. 27.

The film, written by Mike White which stars Jack Black as the lead character Dewey Finn, was adapted for the stage by Andrew Lloyd Webber who brought the movie to life on Broadway.

And now, it’s going to be on stages across America for all to see.

“I was six the first time I watched the movie and I fell in love with it,” said Pierce Bivens, who plays Dewey Finn in the play. “I loved Jack Black and I’ve loved everything he’s been in since then. Ed (Eaton) directed me in middle school and I loved working with him. He left after that which was sad, but then he came back to do this show and before I even knew it was School of Rock I wanted to do it to work with him again.”

The play’s characters, as the contract for the production stipulates, are all under 18. Webber’s ambition for the play was to push children onto the stage and find passion for theater, Eaton said.

And for the play’s director, there’s nothing more gratifying than working with kids on stage.

“I really love working with the youth,” Eato said. “It’s a different experience, but it’s really exciting. I’ve loved the movie for many, many years and watching the play, you can really see how it translates to the stage.The movie is really about Dewey, and this keeps that, but this play will really show what the kids go through, more so than what the movie did and that’s the best part.”

Bivens will lead the way as he teaches his students to “stick it to the man” and inspire his students to find their inner rock n’ roll. Joining him on stage is Taj Gutierrez, who will play Ned Schneebly and Sabryn Rudinoff, who will portray Principal Rosalie Mullins.

“I’m really excited,” Gutierrez said “At first, I didn’t even know I wanted the role. But after some readings and call-backs, I fell in love with the part. I really relate to the part. I’m more excited than I am nervous.”

Playing a main character on stage is a dream for many young actors, especially for Rudinoff, who was has been waiting patiently for her opportunity to grace the stage in a lead role.

“It’s really, really fun,” Rudinoff said. “I was always in the ensemble that was in the high parts and i was always wanted a main part. But the adults usually get the main roles. But this is so different. I’ve had to step in really late, sometimes two hours before curtain to take someone’s place so I thought it was going to be really hard, but it’s been a breeze because i like this role and it’s really fun. When I watched the Broadway show, i just kept thinking how fun it would be to play Rosalie.”

Debra Blachowiak, the producer of School of Rock, is grateful for the opportunity to showcase Kauai’s young talent on stage.

“It’s a state premiere, so it is really thrilling for us to do this. We had to go through an application process and be selected, but we feel very fortunate. The audience will be treated to extremely, high quality production. While it is a youth production, the kids are outstanding in their roles and i think they’ll enjoy it. I don’t want them to not come and say later ‘oh i can’t believe i missed that i heard it was so good!’ I don’t want that.”

Tickets will be available for purchase from the cast and crew, at various outlets around Kauai, online at the HCT website, www.hawaiichildrenstheatre.org and at the door. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.

For more information, call HCT at 246-8985 or call Debra Blachowiak at 639-2437.

For HCT’s production of School of Rock, Pierce Bivens is bringing the lead character Dewey Finn to life on stage, joined by Sabryn Rudinoff playing Rosalie Mullins. The roles of Ned Schneebly and Patty are played by Taj Gutierrez and Trinity Kerwin. The students are: Isabella Bivens, Jackson Gamby, Zeke Gamby, Fiona Godsill, Emily Hartshorn, Katy Hoesel, Tanner Hubbard, Jacob Lester, Taylor Mielke-Suizu, Anais Offley, Charles O’Neill, Melina Ventura, and Anamika Whittingham. The rest of the company plays a variety ofroles throughout the show and they are: Kala’e Abrams, Francesca Bivens, Noah Cabello, Christian Core, Cole Diamond,Isaac Dubey, Mackenzie Franks, Kahana Heen, Makaya Kaduce, Blade Kanekuni, Mia Laver, Nai’a Lovell, Kaile Mckeown,Margaret McLeod, Mia Odell, Miki Pedronan, Alex Peer, Emma Pinkston, Sean Randol, Daria Semenova, Carmen Swanson,Manu Trujillo, Kasiah Vercelli and Callie Yavinsky.

School of Rock the Musical Youth Production is directed by Ed Eaton with musical direction shared by Dolly Kanekuni, Jeremy Hartshorn from Bandwagon and orchestral direction by Mike Odo. Team Rock is flourishing under the leadership of Tani Ishino and Bailey Hutton, stage managers. Steve Whitney returns as sound engineer, Lighting design and operation willbe handled by Eaton assisted by Ishino. Sets this year will be designed and built by our own Ron Horoshko and Ed Anderson. Administrator and producer duties have been proudly carried through by Erin Gaines and Debra Blachowiak.

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