“CHILDREN OF ROCK”
Ladies and gents,
I want you to think back three years. Feels like a relatively short amount of time, no? Just three little years. Well, in December 2015, Donald Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination for President was still widely considered little more than a late-night TV punchline, “Zika virus” was not yet a household term, and School of Rock—The Musical was just about to open on Broadway. My oh my – these have been a mighty long three years!
Andrew Lloyd Webber is as much a theater district mainstay as tourists looking skyward and traffic jams, but his return to the Winter Garden with School of Rock seemed to usher in a new era for the world’s most popular living composer. Not only did the show induce critical swoons and become an instant megahit, but it also seemed to signal Lloyd Webber’s keen interest in arts education had moved across the pond. His foundation has long been focused on such matters overseas, providing funding for underserved young people to pursue training in the U.K., but shortly after School of Rock opened, he decided to team up with the American Theatre Wing to launch the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative here in the states. Through the Initiative, aspiring theater professionals are afforded access to educational programs that would otherwise be out of reach.
Since that time – whether it’s karma or just a beloved genius getting his due – he has enjoyed banner year after banner year, including a smash hit live television version of Jesus Christ Superstar on NBC and a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.
The show itself has inspired a new generation of young musicians (not to mention theatergoers) and lured superstar after superstar to come jam with the kids’ band, including repeat customer Stevie Nicks. Even Barbra Streisand attended, which may have been her first time back at the Winter Garden since she was in Funny Girl. (I understand she waited for the film version of Mamma Mia!)
The show is now enjoying similar success in Australia and on tour across North America.
Next month, after more than 1,300 performances, the Broadway production will play its final performance. But its impact will be felt for years to come.
Tidbits from around town…
Spotted Danny Aiello buying his shrimp deveined at Whole Foods. “It costs more but it’s worth it!”
Saw Tootsie star Santino Fontana at The Ally Coalition’s Fifth Annual Talent Show at Town Hall, which was hosted by fashion world cutie Rachel Antonoff and featured a surprise performance by Taylor Swift.
Overheard an anonymous Bay Area socialite begging her date to introduce her to Carole Shorenstein Hays at the opening night of Dear Evan Hansen at the Curran.
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!