"We have a fantastic lead playing Dewie in Alex Brightman," said Webber. "It is wonderful to be able to confirm that not only is Alex Brightman going to be playing on Broadway, that I have absolutely no intention of marrying him. But I can't speak for him of course."
His joke refers to his ex-wife Sarah Brightman, who was the original Christine Daae in Webber's The Phantom of the Opera in London and New York.
When asked how it felt to have such a celebrated composer as a fan, Brightman said the whole thing felt like "one big prank." "At some point the curtain is going to drop and they're going to be like, just kidding, this is not all happening," he said. "It feels like insanity...I couldn't be happier about it. And just to be able to call Andrew Lloyd Webber a homie is pretty cool too."
Brightman said that working with Webber on a show like this had been an incredible learning experience. "He is a proper theatre guy," he said. "He really has both feet in the pool and it's inspiring that after this many shows, that someone like him, who has every reason to be jaded or over it, is so not. He's like a little kid, he's happier than anybody here. Maybe other than me, I think I'm the happiest here."
Brightman's Broadway credits include Glory Days, Wicked, Matilda and Big Fish, though this feels like a major career leap for him. "I feel incredibly grateful to be given this opportunity," he said. "The fact that they took a shot on somebody like me is pretty hardcore." The Really Useful Group, Warner Music Group and Access Industries, The Shubert Organization and The Nederlander Organization collaborate on presenting the musical, featuring music from the movie as well as new music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater. The book is by Julian Fellowes.
In School of Rock — The Musical, according to producers, "down-on-his-luck wannabe rock star Dewey Finn poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to make ends meet. When he discovers his students' musical talents, he enlists his fifth-graders to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands."
Three-time Grammy Award winner Rob Cavallo is also part of the creative team. Cavallo is one of the top-selling record producers in the world, has been involved in albums that have sold more than 150 million units and has worked with Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Goo Goo Dolls, Phil Collins and Cary Clark Jr., among others.
School of Rock will feature choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, scenic and costume design by Anna Louizos, lighting design by Natasha Katz and sound design by Mick Potter. Nina Lannan serves as executive producer.
Performances are scheduled to begin previews at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre Nov. 9 prior to an official opening Dec. 6. Visit SchoolOfRockTheMusical.com.