Elon University grad returns to area with ‘School of Rock’

By Rachel Teseneer
Times-News correspondent

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Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy), left, and Elon University graduate Patrick Clanton, right, plays Gabe Brown, Mr. Hamilton and Jeff Sanderson in the national touring production of "School of Rock." The show will be performed at the Durham Performing Arts Center Nov. 28 through Dec. 3. [Matthew Murphy

   DURHAM — “School of Rock,” an uplifting   show that’s fun for the whole family, is coming   to the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)   Nov. 28 through Dec. 3. Based on the 2003   movie, the show has songs from the film with   the addition of an original score written by   legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.   ”School of Rock” was nominated for four Tony   Awards in 2016.
“School of Rock” follows the character Dewey  Finn, a down-on-his-luck wannabe rock star  who decides to make ends meet by posing as a  substitute teacher. Dewey then begins to  influence the children he teaches, shaping the  class into a rock band.
In a recent interview, Patrick Clanton, a native of the Garner/Raleigh area and member of the cast of “School of Rock,” shared his excitement for what the show has to offer.
A graduate of Elon University, Clanton began his enjoyment for performing at a young age, taking his first drama class in the third grade and starring the school play the year after. Clanton relates that when his parents saw him perform for the first time “they kind of realized then, ‘oh, he’s actually pretty good at this.’ ”
Entertainment has always been a passion for Clanton.
“There’s nothing guaranteed (in show business). There’s no ladder to success and it’s unpredictable.
I’m grateful to have found success so far. I love not knowing what’s next.”
At 25 years old, Clanton said that it’s “amazing to get to return to my hometown and see friends and family. I think about shows I’ve seen at DPAC. I’d be sitting beside people and strike up a conversation with someone I didn’t know.” Clanton went on to tell how people would ask what he wanted to do and he would tell them. The response was usually, “well maybe I’ll see you on this stage one day.”
Clanton is excited to make this a reality.
He had the opportunity to see “School of Rock” on Broadway with the original cast.
“I was blown away. They did a great job adapting the movie into a stage musical.”
When auditions for the national tour were announced, Clanton said that he wasn’t sure if there would be a role for him. Since all adults in the show play parents, Clanton assumed he would be too young.
Something in me said ‘you need to go to that. Why not give it a shot?’ ”
And it paid off. Clanton plays three characters: Gabe Brown, Mr. Hamilton and Jeff Sanderson.
“They’re all very different. I get to jump in and out of roles and costumes.”
Clanton said the “School of Rock” is “two-and-a-half hours of pure energy.” But what he considers to be the heart of the show are the children. “I’m blown away by the talent of the kids. I have no qualms in saying that the kids are the reason to see the show. I’m hoping my hometown crowd will love it as much as I do.”

Rachel Teseneer is a sophomore at North Carolina State University and a Teens & 20s writer.

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