WHS Lamplighters cast of "School of Rock"

WHS Lamplighters cast of "School of Rock."  (Courtesy photo)

WILMINGTON — Thurs­day, Mach 23, 2023 is open­ing night for the Wil­mington High School Lamp­­lighters Drama Guild’s presentation of “School of Rock - The Musical.”

This spring's hilarious and heartwarming show is based on the hit 2003 movie starring Jack Black.

School of Rock - The Musical tells the story of Dewey Finn, a failed rock-star wannabe who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school in order to earn some extra cash. At first, Finn plans to convert the straight-A pupils into a hard core rock band to compete in the Battle of the Bands. Along the way, Dewey discovers his true destiny is to teach the kids and their parents the beauty of rock and roll.

The play features music from the world famous composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, with 14 new songs in addition to the original songs from the movie.

This will be Samantha Prindiville’s first year as the artistic director of the WHS Lamplighters Dra­ma Guild.

Prindiville teaches both chorus and general mu­sic at WHS, and serves as the WHS Drama Advi­sor and Wilmingtones A Cappella Group Director.

After having been an ac­companist, assistant mu­sic director and music di­rector for various Lamp­lighters musical productions since 2012, Prindi­ville is excited to become the artistic director.

“Getting to lead the charge and direct/music direct has been a dream come true,” said Prindi­ville. “I have enjoyed wor­­king with the students in this capacity tremendously. School of Rock is such a good musical and the students have truly put their hearts into ma­king this production a fantastic one.”

Working alongside Prindiville is the production team, consisting of Thom­as Hall - Technical Direc­tor, Kevin Berube - Light­ing Designer, Marina Ap­ostolou Chan - Choreo­grapher, and Julie Hall - Producer.

Besides putting on a spectacular show for the entire community to en­joy, the production team also hopes to grow and strengthen the Lamp­lighters Drama Guild, in part by bridging the gap between the middle school and high school drama programs offered in Wil­mington.

The middle school program has rapidly grown in recent years with 126 students, nearly 20 percent of the student body, participating in the most recent production.

The high school program is much smaller, with only 33 students participating in their fall production.

A dozen WHS Lamplight­ers members assisted in the middle school's winter production of “Elf,” and for the “School of Rock” production, 7th and 8th grade students were encouraged to participate in this spring musical.

In total, there are 37 mid­dle and high school students involved in this production, 14 of whom are middle school students (nine cast members and five crew members), and a total of 20 students working as the show’s backstage crew.

Despite age and school grade differences, cast and crew have been successful in not only creating a wonderful production, but also creating bonds and personal connections.

“Shows at the middle school and the high school are both amazing, but I love being able to learn from the high schoolers and see what it is like to be a Lamplighter,” said Ca­roline Donovan, grade 8, who will be playing a role of a student ensemble mem­ber in the production.

“In and out of drama the whole cast is like a family,” said Chloe Harbert-Serafino, grade 10, who is playing the role of Rosalie Mullins. “Whether we are singing as an ensemble, rehearsing scenes individually, or laughing over something one of us mixed up, everyone seems to get along and create bonding memories as a group. I look forward to rehearsal because of all the wonderful and talented people that belong to our cast and crew.”

Several roles in “School of Rock” require the ac­tors to play live instruments on stage as part of the student rock band.

J.T. Kilburn, grade 10, has been a member of both the concert and jazz bands at WHS, and is now taking on the role as drummer Freddy Hamil­ton in the production.

Kilburn said of his role, “One of the more challenging aspects of the re­hearsals so far has been having to switch between performing with the rest of the cast and drumming with the band. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but it’s still a very fun and unique experience.”

Allison Hall, grade 9, is taking on the musical role of piano player Lawrence Turner.

She has experience as a musician as a member of both the high school jazz band and rock ensemble, and is excited to put her musical talent to use on stage.

“When I found out that we were going to perform School of Rock the Mu­sical, I jumped at the chance to play piano live on stage, as it would be an amazing opportunity and make me a better musician,” said Hall.

“School of Rock - The Mu­sical” will be performed at the Joanne M. Benton Au­ditorium at the Wilming­ton High School, located at 159 Church St., at 7 p.m. on March 23, 24 and 25, with an additional 1 p.m. matinee show on Satur­day, March 25.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for students and senior citizens, and free for WPS staff with ID. Tickets may be purchased in advance online at wpsk12.ludus.com. Ear­ly purchase is recommen­ded for best seating. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door.

The WHS Drama program relies on ticket sales, donations and fundraisers to operate.

The show’s producer, Ju­lie Hall would like to thank the community for their support of the middle school drama program, and hopes for the same continued support for the high school Lamplighters Drama Guild.

“Over the last decade, com­munity support seems to have waned somewhat for our high school drama program, and we really want to reverse that trend with ‘School of Rock.’ Au­dience attendance is vitally important to the ongoing success of the program,” said Hall.

“Please help us fill the house and show these hard­working, talented students the support they deserve!”

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