BY EMMA PENGELLY
A Year 7 pupil has bagged a second role in School of Rock – The Musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning show which celebrated its 1000th performance earlier in March.
Jasper Bew, based in Blackheath and a student at Croydon’s Trinity school, already has 150 West End performances under his belt – no mean feat for a 12-year-old.
Initially cast as Freddy the drummer in December 2017, this February Jasper was the first and only performer to secure a second starring role in the same show and he is now playing Zack, the lead guitarist.
The musical is based on the popular 2003 film starring Jack Black as an unruly teacher who transforms his group of students into rock singers and musicians.
Jasper was keen to point out the likenesses between himself and his new on-stage persona with the rare vantage point of understanding two key School of Rock characters.
He said: “Freddy was a lot of fun to play. He’s funny, cheeky and has some great comic lines as well as awesome drum solos. Zack is a little more reserved at first and then finds his confidence, just like I had to, to play his rock guitar.”
Although hard to imagine now, Jasper’s path to success has not been straightforward, as he used to be shy and daunted at the prospect of speaking in public. But since then he seems to have grown more comfortable with the limelight.
Jasper said: “Sliding on my knees playing my solo in the finale with the lights on me and the crowd going wild is an incredible feeling.”
Jasper’s achievements shine a light on the important role of music and drama on school curriculums as the subjects can open fantastic and rare opportunities for pupils as young as Jasper.
He said: “I have had so many amazing experiences but have had to be very brave and overcome my fears. School of Rock – The Musical has given me a lot of confidence at the same time as new technical skills in music, singing, dancing and acting. It has also taught me how to be a professional and be very reliable and organised.”
Jasper thanked his Trinity school teachers for their support and said at Stagecoach in Blackheath he was able to build the confidence to perform on stage.
Jasper still has close ties with the performing arts school, he said: “It’s a great way of getting together with friends who love music as well as supporting younger talented musicians to gain confidence just like I did.”
Proud Stagecoach Greenwich principal Kirsty Cox said: “Jasper joined us as a keen musician and performer. Myself and my team are so proud of Jasper and all he’s achieved during his journey in School of Rock.
“The fact that he is the first child in the world to play two parts and perform two instruments in the band is incredible, he couldn’t deserve this success more.
“He is talented, focussed and a great example of what determination and hard work can do.”
The future looks very bright for Jasper and the young performer is eager to inspire others to begin singing, dancing and acting.
He added: “What I love now about the show is that every night in the audience there are young people just like me who I can now inspire to be in the band and follow their dreams.”
Bookings for the show at Gillian Lynne Theatre are now being taken up to January 2020, visit www.SchoolOfRockTheMusical.co.uk for full details.
School of Rock – The Musical is produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber featuring his new music written for the show with lyrics from Glenn Slater.