Craig Gallivan is the latest person to portray the role of Dewey Finn in the London production of School of Rock. His previous theatre credits include Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace), Crime and Punishment (NT), Days of Significance(RSC), The Long, The Short and the Tall (Sheffield Theatre) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK tour).
We caught up with him to find out a bit more about him and the show…
What’s most exciting about playing the lead role of substitute teacher Dewey Finn in School of Rock?
Getting to perform with these incredible children. They are just insanely talented!
For those who may not have seen the show, what is it about?
Based on the famous Jack Black movie, School Of Rock follows Dewey Finn, a down and out wannabe rockstar who pretends to be a substitute teacher in a posh prep school for some extra cash. While there, he decides to turn the class of uppetty kids into his new rock band in order to conquer his dream of winning battle of the bands.
Describe Dewey in three words.
A BIG KID
In the show, your character turns a class of students into a rock band, did you have any musical talents when you were a child?
I had my first guitar when I was about 12, and there was always a piano in my family home so I got quite used to jamming along to Metallica CDs when I was growing up. The neighbours hated me.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I started out playing rugby. I did quite well at it and represented Swansea and West Wales. I was pretty certain I’d end up being a pro rugby player. But then, at the age of 13 I landed a part in the Sam Mendes production of Oliver at the London Palladium and that changed everything.
When you’re not rocking out on stage, who do you like to rock out to at home?
To be honest, I’m pretty much Dewey Finn when I’m off stage too. I love classic rock – ADCD, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, you get the idea.
Dewey Finn was originally played by Hollywood legend Jack Black in the 2003 movie. What film would you like to see adapted for the stage next?
Maybe something by Quentin Tarantino. It’d be fun to see Pulp Fiction done as a stagey musical don’t you think?
If you could only perform one song from the show, what would it be and why?
I’ve gotta go with Teachers Pet. I love playing guitar with the rest of the band and it’s one of the only songs where I get to do that. The others are just vocals.
The show is now in its third year at London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre, what’s the most important message it has been sharing with audiences?
Music sets you free. It happens to the children in the story but I’ve seen it for myself in real life with the kids when they come to rehearse with us. They start off shy and quiet and the more we sing and rock together the more they come out of their shell.
Finally, why should people come and see School of Rock over all the other shows in the West End?
Nothing can prepare you for witnessing first had what these young performers can do. There’s something for all ages to enjoy and you will be blown away!
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