School of Rock Heading to Broadway—With Suspiciously Local Storyline

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation of Richard Linklater’s Jack Black-starring School of Rock is opening on Broadway’s Winter Garden Theater.

The show, much like the film, follows a kid-at-heart rock star who poses as a substitute teacher and forms a band with his students. It will feature songs from the movie, and some original tunes from Webber.

Why am I writing about it here? Though creators of the film deny it, it’s long been thought that the film was based off Philly’s School of Rock, and the man who founded it, Paul Green. The Guardian explains:

School of Rock founder Paul Green and students.

School of Rock founder Paul Green and students.

Paul Green and his students say that producers from VH1—a TV channel owned by Viacom, who also own Paramount Pictures, the company behind the School Of Rock movie—spent some time filming them in 2002 for a reality series. Then they stopped returning their calls. Green may not go quite so far as to say ‘God of Rock, thank you for giving us this chance to kick ass … please give us the chance to blow people’s minds with our high voltage rock,’ as Dewey Finn does, but he is fond of lecturing his students in the finer points of Yes’s ‘Roundabout’, just like a scene in the movie. ‘Plus,’ says Allison Jane Hauptman, who is studying singing and keyboards, ‘some of Jack Black’s mannerisms are identical.’

‘Yeah, I heard about this guy,’ says Jack Black. ‘The film’s not based on him. But I bet it’s fun for him to teach Led Zeppelin. If he wants to sue, go ahead. Good luck.’

A spokesperson for VH1 confirmed that the channel had filmed at Green’s school and added: ‘That was 2000. The Jack Black film was 2003. It’s just a coincidence … We are developing programmes all the time. Not everything [we film] gets used.’

‘I considered suing,’ says Paul Green, ‘but what are you going to do? It’s better, in a karmic sense, to just reap the rewards.’

See the resemblance for yourself. School of Rock on Broadway opens November 2015. Casting starts the first of next year.