They're In The Band! Meet the Kid Stars of School of Rock

Special Features   They're In The Band! Meet the Kid Stars of School of Rock
 
Breakout talents share their audition stories, favorite things about their characters and the stars they wish would come see the show.
School of Rock shoot
Evie Dolan, Isabella Russo, Brandon Niederauer, Jared Parker and Dante Melucci

When you hear the sound of School of Rock — The Musical you may be flabberghasted to know that it's all coming from middle-school-aged musicians. Composer Andrew Lloyed Webber was insistant upon casting kids true to their age for his latest Broadway hit. Now playing the Winter Garden Theatre eight shows a week, these mini-Hendrixes really do play live—and rock the house doing it. Meet the five leading members of the band from Horace Green.

Evie Dolan
Evie Dolan Photo by Monica Simoes

Evie Dolan
Age: 11
Originally from: New York
She plays: Katie, the bassist
Audition story: Dolan had never touched a bass before auditioning. She played the ukulele at her first audition and was asked to bring a bass to the callback. She went with her dad to Guitar Center to get a bass, took a lesson and learned the song "School of Rock."
Most played song on iTunes: "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks and the cast recording of Hamilton. "Hamilton is on loop."
Dream celebrity audience member at School of Rock: Katy Perry
Favorite snack food: "Fresh-cut, perfectly ripe mango"
Favorite thing about her character: She's a feminist. "There are not a lot of girl bassists. Girls can relate to her and she shows how they can do whatever they want."
Favorite subject in school: Math
Hobbies: Arts and crafts, soccer
Favorite part of being in School of Rock: The cast. "The adults are so funny and nice. And all the kids are really close. The show is really fun because it has everything: comedy, music, live instruments, singing, acting."

Dante Melucci
Dante Melucci Photo by Monica Simoes

Dante Melucci
Age: 13
Originally from: Connecticut
He plays: Freddy, the drummer
Playing drums for: About five years
Most played song on iTunes: "Homecoming" by Green Day
Dream celebrity audience member at School of Rock: Billie Joe Armstrong
Audition story: He almost missed his callback because he went to an open call at the Winter Garden and didn't hear his number called, but after clearing it up, he made it to the callback and then the dance [call] and final auditions. "Then they said I was in and my mind was blown."
Favorite snack foods: Popcorn and Doritos
Favorite item in his dressing room: "My computer!"
Favorite thing about his character: "He tries to be tough and he tries to be the strongest out of everyone, but when he's alone, he's actually very sensitive."
Favorite subject in school: English
Hobbies: Playing video games, reading comics
Celebrity crush: Miranda Cosgrove
Favorite app: Tumblr
Favorite part of being in School of Rock: "I'm getting paid to do my favorite things in the world—play drums, sing, act, dance. It's just amazing."

Brandon Niederauer
Brandon Niederauer Photo by Monica Simoes

Brandon Niederauer
Age: 12
Originally from: New York
He plays: Zack, the guitarist
Playing guitar: Since age eight
Acting since: The audition. "I wasn't really an actor until this."
Most played song on iTunes: "I go through phases, but either 'I Wish' by Stevie Wonder or 'In Memory of Elizabeth Reed' by the Allman Brothers."
Dream celebrity audience members at School of Rock: Derek Trucks or President Obama ("Because why not the President?") Also, "Jennifer Lawrence, if you're reading this, please come to our show."
Favorite food: Fried rice
Favorite thing about his character: "Zack is awesome. The only think I don't like about him is that he used to be shy and fragile and that his dad is so bad because my dad is the best person is the world."
Hobbies: Playing guitar, basketball
Favorite movies: This is Spinal Tap and Ted. "Seth MacFarlane, come to the show."
Celebrity crush: Susan Tedeschi. "Nobody knows who that is."
Favorite part of being on Broadway: "Everything about it. Except for the haters."
Favorite part of being in School of Rock: The music

Jared Parker
Jared Parker Photo by Monica Simoes

Jared Parker
Age: 13
Originally from: Connecticut
He plays: Lawrence, the keyboardist
Playing piano: Since age five
Favorite song to perform in the show: "School of Rock"
Most played song on iTunes: "Dream On" by Aerosmith
Favorite snack food: Lime Tostitos chips
Favorite item in his dressing room: A stuffed animal panda
Character in School of Rock he'd want to play for a night: Katie
Favorite thing about his character: "I like the journey of my character. At the beginning he's very shy and he thinks he's not cool enough to be in the band, but I think Dewey really helps him come out of the darkness, and at the end he's just a monster on the keyboard and he's having a lot of fun."
Hobbies: Watching Netflix
Favorite TV shows: The Office and 30 Rock
Favorite book: "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio
Favorite movies: Inception and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy
Favorite part of being in School of Rock: "I think there's something special about performing in front of a live audience, and being able to do that with my best friends is awesome."

Isabella Russo
Isabella Russo Photo by Monica Simoes

Isabella Russo
Age: 11
Originally from: New Jersey, but grew up all over the country because her dad was in the touring company of Wicked
She plays: Summer, the band manager
Fun fact: She has been to 49 states (she is missing Alaska).
Favorite song to perform in the show: "Time to Play"
Most played song on iTunes: "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks
Dream celebrity audience members at School of Rock: Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Bernadette Peters
How she prepared for the role: They all had to make character scrapbooks, make up details about their backstories and write about their character's musical influences. "I wrote about Summer's favorite band manager. Peter Grant rules!"
Favorite subjects in school: Reading, writing, vocabulary
Hobbies: Riding horses
Favorite TV show: "I have an obsession with Phineas and Ferb. I watch it every single day."
Favorite book: "I live for The Hunger Games."
Favorite part of being in School of Rock: "We're like a big family. We feed off of Alex Brightman's energy. He drives the show and he's really fun to be around. He's like an idol for all of us."

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