School of Rock – The Musical, based on the 2003 film starring Jack Black and a brood of uber-talented kids, is taking to the Broadway stage with a new cast, songs penned by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Weber, and one mission: to rock.
Stage vet Alex Brightman (Wicked, Matilda, Big Fish) electrifies and leads the cast as Dewey Finn, a failed rocker and accidental substitute teacher with a knack for bringing life back to the classroom by forming a rock band with his students. Brightman shares the stage with a bunch of pint-sized co-stars, children—two of them from the New York metro region—in their tweens and low teens, most of whom are making their Broadway debuts.
Brightman, a guitar player, is also far from the only one pulling double duty as an actor and musician for School of Rock. In fact, it was a requirement that the show’s young cast be bona fide rock stars, from the back-up singers to the bass and keys.
RELATED: Find Theater, Acting, and Drama Classes for Kids Near You
Some of the young School of Rock stars took a break from rehearsals to speak with us about their musical talents, the experience of being in the show, and what advice they have for other kids interested in the performing arts. Here’s your chance to meet the band:
Brandon Niederauer as Zack
Plays: Guitar. And I can play any other instrument that you don’t have to blow into.
Favorite Scene/Musical Number: My favorite is “Stick It to the Man” because Zack comes out of his shell with a giant solo.
Advice for Budding Musicians and Actors: For people that want to start on instruments, if in the first few weeks, or months, or years it’s hard, never give up because I accidentally did that once, and I’m glad that I got back because now I’m here. Why would you ever quit? I should have asked myself that.
Evie Dolan as Katie
Plays: I play the bass and I can also play the guitar, the ukulele, the saxophone, mandolin, and a little bit of piano.
Has Your Playing Improved?: It sounds like it! I started playing the bass at the second callback, so I think I’ve gotten a lot better.
Advice for Budding Musicians and Actors: When playing an instrument you have to be very determined and very confident in what you’re doing. Always believe in yourself.
Get things to do with your kids
Delivered right to your inbox
Dante Melucci as Freddy
Plays: Drums. I used to play piano when I was little, and I just started playing guitar.
Local Star: I go to School of Rock in New Canaan and I’m in the house band, so we go around New York and Connecticut and play at shows.
Favorite Scene/Musical Number: My favorite scene would be “Stick It to the Man” because it’s so exciting. We’re all running around and the choreography is awesome.
Jared Parker as Lawrence
Plays: The keyboard.
Favorite Scene/Musical Number: I like “Teacher’s Pet.” I just think it’s the moment where all of the kids are finally completely free and having so much fun. It’s the big performance.
Isabella Russo as Summer
Plays: The triangle.
Advice for Budding Musicians and Actors: Never act. Always be the character. If you’re acting then you’re not acting. I think you should always love what you do. And acting and singing are things that you either love it or hate it. Be confident. Know your character.
Tickets for School of Rock can be purchased in-person at the Winter Garden Theatre box office, online at telecharge.com, or by calling 800-447-7400.
RELATED: Get More Kid-Friendly Shows Delivered to Your Inbox