Terrence Bell Jr.
|TERRENCE BELL JR. (Mason; Lawrence u/s) Born and raised in a musical family, Troy has been playing instruments since he was a toddler, beginning with the drums at the age of 3. He soon started playing the piano and later added cello, bass guitar and clarinet to his repertoire of instruments. He is extremely excited to make his Broadway debut in the School of Rock.|
Paul Luke Bonenfant
|PAUL LUKE BONENFANT (Swing) Having performed in local theater and rock bands half his life, Luke is thrilled to debut on Broadway in School of Rock. Big thanks to Merri, Corey, Bob, David, Villagers friends, School of Rock cast, Lakehouse, parents and sibs!
|CHLOÈ BRYAN (Madison; Tomika u/s) Chloé is a dynamic 10 years old artist from Northern Virginia. She is grateful to make her Broadway debut in School of Rock – the Musical! Many thanks to her mom and dad; Nancy C., Walker, Catrina, and family & friends near and far for supporting her in this journey.|
|AMADI CHAPATA (Tomika) is from Atlanta GA and has been acting, singing, and dancing since the age of two. With both parents heavily in the arts, she was introduced to theatre at a very young age. She has appeared in musicals such as “The life of Madam Cj Walker”, and toured as Janette in “Power of Passion.” She enjoys the smiles she shares with family and friends and strives to be the best she can be on and off stage.|
|OLIVIA CHUN (Summer) Broadway: The King and I of LCT (Original Cast, Royal Twin & u/s PY) Workshops: Annie Kidz (CAA), DoogeunDoogeun Hangul(KCC), Bway Prep (JCC) Short Film: Curbside Waltz. Grateful to M.Sugarman of Tara Rubin Casting, Telsey & Co., LCT and B.Sher, Abram Artist Agency, Black Coffee Production, Amelia, Deb, Glenn, J.Guan, E. Nammour, S.Innocenzi, J.D.Reamy, NJ Chodae Church, family, friends and Pablo. Twitter: @oliviachun, Insta: @oliviachunofficial|
|GIANNA HARRIS (Shonelle; Tomika u/s) Gianna is ecstatic to make her Broadway debut! Big thanks to DBA, Debra, NJGT, Natalie & YHS for helping me achieve my dreams. Much love to my family for always believing in me and supporting me during this incredible journey. Insta: Giannaharris04
|RACHEL KATZKE (Katie; Summer u/s) is grateful for this opportunity to make her Broadway debut! Previously: Cindy Lou Who (Grinch), Pearl (Scarlet/NYMF). Tremendous thanks to Al, Lisa, Barry, Janine, Merri, Tara, Libby, Chris, Trapper, Badiene, Jillian, Dan, Amelia, Kidz Theatre, and Random Farms. Love to Talia, Ba, and Eima. Insta: rachelkatzke|
|ELLIE KIM (Swing) is grateful to God and overjoyed to be making her Broadway debut! Ellie plays piano, violin, and bass guitar and loves hip hop, tap, and ballet. Previously: Dream Street (KOTA), Nutcracker (AYDT), Uniqlo print, commercials. Huge thanks to Eddie (Take 3), Bob Marks, Retters, Badiene, KOTA, BAA, DMO, A Class Act, AYDT, Denise, Dan K. (Replay), Tara Rubin Casting, SOR creative, and friends and family.|
|JASON KISARE (Swing) Jason is excited to be making his Broadway debut in School of Rock! Huge thanks to God, Mom, Dad, Lauren, extended family, my school, and Tara Rubin Casting for all their support in making my dreams come true!|
|RAGHAV MEHROTRA (Freddy) A passionate drummer and an aspiring musician, Raghav has been performing since age 4 and was the youngest School of Rock All Star, touring various cities. Shout out to Princeton SOR and family for their unconditional support. YouTube: Raghav Drummer|
|BRANDON NIEDERAUER (Zack) Brandon is stoked to make his Broadway debut with School of Rock. A true guitar prodigy, appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”; mentored by Jon Batiste; inspired by Derek Trucks and The Allman Brothers; appearances include New Orleans Jazz Festival; Barclays Center; performed with Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, George Clinton, Gary Clark Jr, Neville Brothers, Scorpions and others.
Ava Della Pietra
|AVA DELLA PIETRA (Swing; Katie u/s) Ava is thrilled to make her Broadway debut in School of Rock ! Previously: Little Cosette in national tour of Les Misérables ; Susan Waverly in National Tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Thanks: Nancy, Badiene, Walker, Richard, Tara, Merri. www.AvaDellaPietra.com|
|SAMMY RAMIREZ (Billy) Sammy is honored to make his Broadway debut with the cast and team of School of Rock! From Virginia, he’s been doing theater since he was 5. Regional Credits: Virginia Musical Theater: Mame (Young Patrick) and Beauty and the Beast (Chip); Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Scrooge No More (Tiny Tim). He studied at Eastern Virginia School of the Performing Arts. Thanks to Lisa Calli, Merri Sugarman, Alison Franck, Ron Boucher, his grandparents Rey and Irma, his parents Rey and Cynthia, his sister Amelia, and God.|
|RUTH RIGHI (Sophie; Katie u/s) is pumped to be part of School of Rock, especially since the musical inspired her to pursue Broadway. From Santa Cruz, CA, Ruth has been dancing since she was 3, studying acting and seeking out the thrill of performing. Ruth loves to make music with her dad and began studying piano at 5. Big hugs to all her teachers, family, friends, Daisy, Tara Rubin Casting and Paradigm. Rock on!|
|JERSEY SULLIVAN (James; Freddy/Zack u/s) Young L.A. rocker plays drums, guitar, bass and piano—and he’s thrilled to be rockin’ his Broadway debut! Check out his band Detoure at ReverbNation.com/ DetoureBandLA. Thanks to School of Rock, WLA. Love to Tupelo, Walden, Mom & Dad.|
|WALDEN SULLIVAN (Lawrence) This L.A. native has dreamed of being on Broadway for most of his young life, and is crazy-excited to make his debut in School of Rock. Heartfelt gratitude to Carol Hart, teacher extraordinaire. Huge hugs to Liza Monjauze. Thanks also to Merri Sugarman and Rachel Altman, who believed. Big love to Mom, Dad, Big Brother Jersey, and Stand-out Sister Tupelo.|
|ANNABELLE WACHTEL (Marcy; Summer u/s) is beyond happy to make her Broadway debut at just 10 years old! National Tour: Annie (role of Molly). Huge “thank you” to Kaitlin, Walker, Catrina, Janine, Rachel, Tara Rubin Casting, Nancy, my school and School of Rock. Special Love and Kisses to my parents and Coco. Thank you for making my dream come true, Mom & Dad! Let’s Rock!”|
“The only other woman to rival [Boggess] onstage is the pig-tailed bass player Evie Dolan, a funky burst of sunlight who is about 10. Other kid standouts are Brandon Niederauer, who melts faces off with his axe, and Bobbi MacKenzie does it with her lungs.”
“The dozen or so children are wildly talented and absolutely adorable. I dare you not to smile as they stomp around and chant that they will “stick it to the man.””
“But back to those kids! Sure, we’ve seen children sing. We’ve seen them dance. We’ve seen them act, and we’ve seen them play instruments. But this cast is doing it all with more intensity than you’d expect. A recorded announcement at the top of the show informs us that, yes, they are in fact playing their own instruments. What is so impressive and commendable is the inspiration this will yield for young theatergoers.”
“The most sensational ensemble of kid actors to hit Broadway since ANNIE’s original gang of orphans is headed by scruffily charismatic lead guitarist Brandon Niederauer. Bass guitarist Evie Dolan masters the job’s traditional deadpan grimace and Jared Parker doesn’t hide his wild enthusiasm whipping out keyboard licks. Dante Melucci gets the audience going with his slamming drumming but the jaw-dropping moment comes when Bobbi Mackenzie, as the shy Tomika, lets out a mature and sensitively textured vocal of “Amazing Grace.”
On the acting side, Isabella Russo shows great comic chops and a fine musical theatre voice as Summer, the smart kid with leadership qualities that excels at being the band’s manager.”
“If you look hard enough, work with kids long enough and build a structure that carefully protects them, you can find pre-adolescents who can dance, play or sing on a seemingly adult level.
They sure did all of the above with this show — finding a young guitar whiz named Brandon Niederauer, a killer drummer named Dante Melucci, a keyboard prodigy named Jared Parker and a pre-teen bassist named Evie Dolan, all of whom play live all night long, eight shows a week, no double-casting, no siree.”
DC Theatre Scene
“Particularly memorable in Dewey’s School of Rock band are Brandon Niederauer as the guitarist, a mean man with a riff, Evie Dolan as Katie the bass player, and Jared Parker as keyboardist Lawrence, who initially doesn’t want to join because he doesn’t think he’s cool enough.
…the wonderfully precocious Isabella Russo…the most gorgeous songs in the show, “If Only You Would Listen,” which, when reprised, is led gloriously by 11-year-old Bobbi McKenzie as Tomika.”
“Lloyd Webber himself is heard on tape at the top of the show, assuring the customers that the tykes in the band — cute as a Benneton poster — are indeed playing their instruments (just like in a John Doyle production of Sondheim!), and they are indeed amazing…Brightman appears to be a pretty cool guitarist but what a protege Dewey gets in the Zack of Brandon Niederauer, a prodigy who’s already sat in with house bands around TV land. Mention also must be made of Evie Dolan, Carly Gendell, Ethan Khusidman, Dante Melucci, Luca Padovan, Jared Parker and Isabella Russo as the various students who serve as instrumentalists, back-up singers, manager, costume designer and other band-type functions. And special mention also must be made of Bobbi MacKenzie, a Broadway belter in the making.”
“…the best things on the stage of the Winter Garden Theatre are the dozen or so unknown kids who steal the show, many of them making their Broadway debuts…when those kids — Dewey’s 10-year-old students — take the stage, School of Rock is a delight….Tameka, played by Bobbi Mackenzie, has helicoptering gay dads and is too intimidated to speak; she finally opens her mouth and turns out to have the pipes of a diva…if the children are in fact our future, School of Rock suggests we’re in pretty good hands.”
“The children are universally adorable and several of them are staggeringly accomplished musicians. It is an absolute treat to hear them.”
“It’s funny, but you don’t realize just how badly you needed to see a 12-year-old boy powering through a face-melting guitar solo, or his pint-size female counterpart on bass, pouting like the coolest of rocker chicks, until you witness them onstage in the disarming musical adaptation of School of Rock….the show knows full well that its prime asset is the cast of ridiculously talented kids, ranging in age from nine to 13. They supply a joyous blast of defiant analog vitality in a manufactured digital world.
It might sound lame to suggest that School of Rock works in large part because of the charms of a bunch of adorable kids. But their infectious delight as they etch their distinct personalities and seize both their individual and collective right to be heard is irresistible. And at a time when attention is being paid to diversity in entertainment, the mix of children from different racial backgrounds adds another refreshing layer to the experience.
…Isabella Russo, priceless in the slightly demonic mold of a baby Christina Ricci…Luca Padovan, a treasure…
This is also the first time we get to see the junior dynamos in action, with Zach (Brandon Niederauer) on guitar; Katie (Evie Dolan) on bass; Lawrence (Jared Parker) on keyboard; and Freddy (Dante Melucci) punishing the drum kit. The fact that all four, alongside Brightman on guitar, are actually playing their own instruments elevates the songs in terms of excitement. Ditto the divine backup vocalists (Carly Gendell and Taylor Caldwell, later joined by dynamite soloist Bobbi MacKenzie), with their gorgeous “doo do-doos” and sublime dance moves. The kids get the show’s most poignant moments in affecting songs like “If Only You Would Listen,” directed at their oblivious parents, and reprised later in the “To Sir With Love” vein, as a tender tribute to what Dewey has done for them.”
“MacKenzie as the shy and for quite a while silent Tomika provides for another of the production’s crowd-pleasing moments, although how and why won’t be revealed here….Oh, yes, musical comedy aficionados, it’s the non-voting-age players, including the adorably proficient Isabella Russo as the band manager, who steal this undertaking…”
Los Angeles Times
“The kids are all right. Actually, they’re better than all right. They’re downright charming…
The show, however, belongs to the children…each and every young actor in the cast deserves to be on Broadway’s honor role.”
NBC New York
“Among the young performers, Brandon Niederauer is awesome on electric guitar. Dante Mellucci brings adult-like attitude to his drumming. Evie Dolan, as a pig-tailed bassist, could step into a Go-Go’s cover band tomorrow. Vocalist Bobbi Mackenzie sings a regal “Amazing Grace.””
New York Times
“All the children are defined as distinct individuals but without excessive shtick. My personal favorite: the petite, poker-faced Evie Dolan as Katie the bass guitarist.”
“The first thing to know is that the kids, cast through a high-profile talent search, are genuine children who play their own instruments, and they’re all terrific.”
“But the real stars of this show are the thirteen children who play the members of Dewey’s class, pint-sized forces of nature who sing, dance and play instruments, all without any noticeable flagging of energy. In quick, affecting strokes, these actors establish the emotional stakes of their characters (particular props to Bobbi MacKenzie, as the cowed-into-silence Tomika, and Luca Padovan, as fashion designer-in-the-making Billy).
And in the musical’s two best numbers — the audition sequence “You’re in the Band,” and the anthemic “Stick it to the Man” — the youngsters really do give us a sense of the liberating, formative power of rock music on the pre-adolescent brain.”
“…Summer, played by the small, scene-swiping Isabella Russo…”
Peconic Public Broadcasting
“…this band of newly aspiring actors, actresses and musicians are really quite good. 4 or 5 of them including the drummer, a keyboard player and a guitar player are way better than you could possibly expect from 9 – 11 year olds and, as we are told at the outset, they are actually playing the instruments and not just pretending while another band backstage is actually doing the work.”
“You can feel the tremors of excitement ripple throughout the house when Brandon Niederauer plows through his electric guitar solos with the razor-edged precision and cocky confidence of someone twice his age. Jared Parker’s slamming piano playing is always accompanied by a sly, angled grin suggesting (probably accurately) that you couldn’t do as well yourself. Although she’s preternaturally laid-back as the bass player, Evie Dolan has the knack to craft a killer line that makes her projected diffidence work like comic gangbusters. Good luck forgetting how show-stoppingly fierce Dante Melucci is on the drums. And when the tiny Bobbi Mackenzie opens her mouth to sing, you’ll swear the polished, soulful sound that comes out is the product of a gospel singer with decades of experience.
What’s more impressive still is that none of these youngsters gets off one-and-done easy. They play multiple numbers in many scenes across both acts of this full-length (two-and-a-half-hour) musical, and are required by the story to keep upping the game as things progress. And at no point do they ever let you down, reaching beyond their grasp and proving they are just ordinary children. No, they convince you not just that they deserve to be there, but that they are already headliners of blinding brightness who deserve every shred of the immense career potential they would seem to have before them.”
“Happily, these talented young professionals are as adorable and negative-review-proof as their colleagues…Bobbie Mackenzie astounds us as the big-voiced Tomika. Isabella Russo is like General Patton in Mary Janes as band manager Summer. The standout musician of the group is Brandon Niederauer, who plays lead guitarist Zack. He’s so good you might be tempted to think he was miming the work of an adult guitarist hiding in the pit if Lloyd Webber did not emphatically insist in a preshow announcement that the kids are all actually playing.”
“How could you possibly resist them, these fresh, sunny faces and sweet pre-pubescent voices that dominate the cast of School of Rock — The Musical? Did I mention that some of the kids also play musical instruments, live?
But it’s the younger cast members who engage us most. There’s Isabella Russo, pert and adorable as the hyper-driven Summer, who manages the band; and Jared Parker’s heart-tugging evolution, as Lawrence, from a sad nerd into a monster keyboardist. Brandon Niederauer’s Zack plays his guitar with irresistible gusto, and Evie Dolan’s Katie is a model of deadpan cool pounding her bass.”
“…cast of super-talented kids…the adorable Isabella Russo…One by one, the sensational young superstars step forward: Zach (Brandon Niederauer), the amazing lead guitarist; Katie (Evie Dolan), the little darling rocking that big, bad, black bass; Freddy (Dante Melucci), the kid tearing up the drum set; and Lawrence (Jared Parker), the shy lad who comes alive at the keyboard…Tiny Tomika (Bobbi MacKenzie), a baby doll with a gigantic voice (“Amazing Grace”), leads the backup singers…”
“The kids are terrific: They sing very well, are not overly adorable, and (as a pre-show announcement makes sure to clarify, because it isn’t always clear in the din) play their own instruments. ”