Lights, Music, Action! Clovis North’s unforgettable School of Rock performance

Photo by Jeff Phillips with permission from Clovis Unified

April 29, 2024 – On a radiant Saturday afternoon, the stage belonged to the vibrant performers of Clovis North High School’s esteemed Drama Department, affectionately known as The Bronco Drama.

They graced the stage with their penultimate rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock The Musical” at the heartwarming Mercedes Edwards Theater. Anticipation hummed in the air as attendees filled the lobby, eager to immerse themselves in an afternoon of musical magic.

Guided by their visionary director, Matthew Bridges, the dedicated drama teacher at Clovis North High School, a talented ensemble of student actors from grades 9 through 12 took center stage. Their performance seamlessly intertwined the essence of the original 2003 movie with the electrifying energy of live theater.

The acting prowess of these student actors was on full display. Each scene was made even more impressive by the fact that the students all played their own instruments. The authenticity and charm this added could not be overstated. With each note played and every line delivered, the cast breathed life into their characters, captivating the audience from start to finish.

Jonathan Gerena commanded the stage with finesse in the role of slacker turned teacher Dewey Finn, his physical comedy and irresistible charm eliciting laughter and applause from the audience. Ella Lev sparkled as Rosalie Mullins, her commanding vocals and impeccable comedic timing bringing depth to the portrayal of the strict principal of Horace Green.

The entire cast delivered standout performances, with Matthew Cereno, Miles Castle, Noah Glass, and Alexis Villegas leaving lasting impressions with their roles in the band. Taylor Shapiro shone particularly bright as Tomika Spencer-Williams, her powerful voice resonating deeply as she owned the spotlight.

Behind the scenes, a dedicated crew worked tirelessly to ensure seamless transitions between scenes, while elaborate set designs transported viewers into the heart of the story. The synergy between cast and crew infused the production with authenticity and passion, making it a truly memorable experience.

From the nostalgic halls of Horace Green to the exhilarating Battle of the Bands, expertly choreographed scenes and songs transported viewers on a journey of emotion and excitement. Tears flowed freely during “If Only You Would Listen,” while the infectious energy of rock anthems like “Stick it to the Man” and “You’re in the Band” had the audience clapping their hands and jumping out of their seats as the final act came to a close.

After the performance, attendees spilled out into the afternoon sunlight, sharing their favorite moments and basking in the joy of community. Among them, Clovis resident Pam Charnes proudly displayed her Lemon Bundt Cake that she had won from the ticket drawing held at intermission. Quoting a song from the performance, she laughingly stated, “I won this because ‘I’m too hot for you’.”

Jonathan Gerena, adorned in his A/C-inspired costume, graciously accepted praise from admirers, embodying the spirit of Clovis with humility and pride. Reflecting on the experience, he spoke of the tight-knit community at Clovis North High School, where support and camaraderie abound. “I have had such a great time; there’s a real community at Clovis North where everyone just comes together to support each other.” He paused and looked around, his face lighting up with pride for the cast and crew and the community around him. “We just continue to keep putting out fantastic shows in my opinion.”

As the cast signed autographs and posed for photos with fans, it was evident that Clovis North High School and The Bronco Drama, fueled by community booster organizations, are not just about performances; they’re about nurturing future leaders and fostering a sense of belonging. Fueled by the unwavering support of the community, their commitment to excellence elevates all involved and embodies the true essence of Clovis, where every moment is a celebration of life, culture, and the pursuit of dreams.