BY MARK KENNEDY
NEW YORK — Rockers, rejoice: The Broadway musical “Rock of Ages” may be going, but get ready for “The School of Rock.”
Producers said Thursday that a musical version of the 2003 film starring Jack Black will start in early November, with an opening set for Dec. 6. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater will write new music to be added to some songs featured in the movie.
The story — about a rocker who poses as a substitute teacher at a tony prep school — will be adapted by Julian Fellowes, who created “Downton Abbey,” as well as writing the stage musical of “Mary Poppins” and the film “Gosford Park,” and be directed by Laurence Connor, who co-directed the latest “Les Miserables” on Broadway and “Miss Saigon” in London. JoAnn M. Hunter will handle choreography.
Casting will begin in January in cities across the country, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The show will take over the massive Winter Garden, which recently housed “Rocky,” another musical based on a film that underperformed.
The stage version of “The School of Rock” will stay close to the plot of the film, in which a wannabe rocker enlists his fifth-graders to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands. The film featured songs by The Doors, Cream, The Black Keys and Led Zeppelin.
Slater co-created Disney’s 2010 hit film “Tangled” and supplied lyrics for “Sister Act” on Broadway. Lloyd Webber is the producer-composer behind such massive hits as “Cats,” ”Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”