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Monday September 24th 2018

School Of Rock | 2003

School Of Rock filming location: Union County Arts Center, Irving Street, Rahway, New Jersey
School Of Rock location: the climactic ‘Battle of the Bands’ exterior: Union County Arts Center, Irving Street, Rahway, New Jersey | Photograph: wikimedia / PeterMac13

Jack Black steals the show in a tailor-made role as rock-obsessed slacker Dewey Finn, forging a class of aspirational prep school kids into a rock band. Finn is fired from his band, Maggotdeath, after executing a truly tragic stagedive at Northsix, 66 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, in Brooklyn. The indie music venue closed down in controversial circumstances in 2003, but now lives on as Music Hall of Williamsburg.

‘Horace Green Preparatory School’, at which Finn contrives to wangle a job as substitute teacher, is made up of two separate locations.

The Gothic exterior is on Staten Island. It’s Wagner College, 1 Campus Road, Grymes Hill. The school interiors were filmed over on Long Island, at Buckley Country Day School, 2 I.U. Willets Road, Roslyn.

School Of Rock filming location: 120 Bay Cafe, Bay Street, St George, Staten Island
School Of Rock location: Finn takes Principal Mullins for a beer: 120 Bay Cafe, Bay Street, St George, Staten Island

Back on Staten Island, Finn softens up apparently straitlaced Principal Mullins (Joan Cusack) with beer and Stevie Nicks at rock club/karaoke bar Cargo Cafe, which is – you guessed it – closed. Don’t despair, there’s still music and karaoke at what is now 120 Bay Cafe, 120 Bay Street at Slosson Street, St George. On the northeastern tip of the island, St George is home to the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

School Of Rock filming location: St George Theatre, Hyatt Street, Staten Island
School Of Rock location: the climactic ‘Battle of the Bands’ interior: St George Theatre, Hyatt Street, Staten Island

St George is also the site of the climactic ‘Battle of the Bands’, which is staged at the St George Theatre, 31 Hyatt Street. Opened in 1929, this 2,800 seat vaudeville and movie house was the most magnificent theatre on Staten Island. After being shuttered for many years, the theatre has been restored, and reopened in 2004. You won’t recognise this as the frontage seen in the film, though.

The exterior is in New Jersey, at the also lovingly restored Union County Arts Center, 1601 Irving Street, Rahway, which was formerly the old Rahway Theatre.