Filmed in the New York metropolitan area, “School of Rock” began production at Wagner College in Staten Island, which provided the gothic architectural exteriors for the Horace Green Elementary School, the interiors of which were shot at a private school on Long Island. The cast and crew then traveled to Franklin Lakes and Rahway, New Jersey. In Rahway, the production shot exterior scenes in front of an old movie palace that draws major musical acts and theatrical productions to the area.
Although the exteriors of the school were primarily filmed at Wagner College, the scenes in the cafeteria, faculty rooms and Rosalie Mullins office were shot during Christmas holiday break at Long Island’s prestigious Buckley Country Day School. Founded in 1923, the school relocated in 1955 to the former estate of the Shearson family in Roslyn, Long Island.
Following several months of filming on location, the production settled into the Broadway stages in Queens to film the interiors of the classrooms and the apartment that Dewey shares with Ned and Ned’s girlfriend, Patty. Production Designer Jeremy Conway and his team built the interior of the apartment, making it a funky, brick-walled space full of vinyl albums, miscellaneous guitars and a used drum set. Orderly on the side where Ned and Patty live, the apartment definitely has the messy crash-pad look, with a mattress on the floor and take-out food containers strewn everywhere, on Dewey’s side.
The film’s exciting Battle of the Bands finale brought the production back to Staten Island’s St. George Theatre, a magnificent former vaudeville palace and opera house built in 1928. When the movies came into vogue in the early 1930s, a projection booth was built upstairs, and it flourished for a long time as one of the great American, art deco movie palaces -- a perfect place to stage the “School of Rock” winning performance.
All the Battle of the Bands performances were enhanced by celebrated lighting designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, whose theatrical work on Broadway has garnered literally dozens of awards, including a Tony they shared in 1996 for “Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk” and six additional Tony awards for Fisher. In addition to lighting all the numbers in the Academy Award?-winning musical “Chicago,” Fisher and Eisenhauer’s studio, Third Eye, designs lighting for a myriad of entertainment venues, including film, ballet, opera, television and rock ’n’ roll.