School of Rock arrived on Broadway last December, 12 years after the ferociously funny, successful Jack Black film premiered on-screen. A few changes had to be made for the adaptation: a new score by Andrew Lloyd Weber with lyrics by Glenn Slater and an expanded book by Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey fame). Keeping it School of Rock to its core, though, is the cast’s live band of talented, budding rock stars. The musicians and actors spoke with Rolling Stone about the musical, the original movie and meeting the show’s famous fans, like Stevie Nicks.
Evie Dolan (playing Katie on bass), Diego Lucano (Lawrence on keys), Dante Melucci (Freddy on drums) and Brandon Niederauer (Zack on guitar) are not just acting as the young band put together by fake-teacher Dewey Finn. The kids are playing live when their instruments are in hand, with Dolan, Melucci and Niederauer having played their instruments for most of their lives. “Actually, how I picked up [the guitar] was because of the movie School of Rock with Jack Black in it,” Niederauer, who has done sessions with everyone from George Clinton to Lady Gaga, recalls. “I was watching that movie 24/7, and I was like ‘I really like that Zack character. I want to learn how to play guitar.'”
School of Rock puts on eight performances a week at New York City’s Winter Garden Theatre. Find tickets here.