They’re in the School of Rock Band!
The coveted role of Dewey and a cast of 36 children have been announced for the Australian premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway and West End rock musical, School of Rock – playing at Her Majesty’s, Melbourne from 31 October 2018
Sydney-based actor, composer and musical theatre performer Brent Hill will play wannabe rock star Dewey Finn. With an impressive lineup of musical theatre credits including multiple awards and nominations for his starring roles in Little Shop of Horrors, Once and Rock of Ages, along with numerous appearances in The Production Company shows, Hill was recently seen alongside Hugo Weaving in The Resistible Rise for Arturo Ui at Sydney Theatre Company and in Eddie Perfect’s Vivid White at Melbourne Theatre Company.
Hill will be joined on stage each night by a talented group of young Australian performers, aged nine to 13 years of age, who will deliver scorching riffs, pounding drums and all-live rock. After a nationwide search, these 36 performers will alternate in the following roles:
Ben Swissa, 12, from Rose Bay NSW * Jayden Tatasciore, 9, from Landsdale WA * Zane Blumeris, 11, from Mooroolbark VIC – playing ZACH
Kempton Maloney (Wind in the Willows), 9, from Newtown VIC * Bailey Landeg, 11, from Riverside TAS * Ethan Stephenson, 12 from Nunawading VIC – playing FREDDY
Caleb Elbourne, 11, from Ferntree Gully VIC * Orlando Schwerdt (Carmen, Matilda), 12, from Sandhurst VIC * Heath Jelovic (Parsifal and Turandot, The Secret River), 13, from Cherrybrook NSW – playing LAWRENCE
Samantha Zhang, 10, from Menai NSW * Remy Grunden, 10, from Oakleigh South VIC * Tiana Mirra (Matilda, Strictly Ballroom), 13, from Park Orchards VIC – playing KATIE
Ava McInnes, 10, from Geelong VIC * Stephanie Kipnis (Matilda), 10, from Mount Waverley VIC * Yvette Pugat, 10, from Clyde North VIC – playing SUMMER
Bella-Mia Bortolin, 11 from Heidelberg Heights VIC * Chihana Perera (Matilda), 12 from Hartness VIC * Riley Thomas, 10 from Taylors Hill VIC – playing TOMIKA
Annie Jones (Sound of Music), 10, from Glenroy VIC * Kayla Muir (Sound of Music), 10, from Warrandyte VIC * Riya Mandrawa, 10, from Hawthorn East VIC – playing MARCY
Ashlyn Norman, 11 from Port Melbourne VIC * Ava Rose Houben-Carter, 10 from Pakenham VIC * Rachel Kipnis (Sound of Music, LesMisérables), 13 from Mount Waverley – playing SHONELLE
Lucia Schwerdt (The Wind in the Willows), 10 from Sandhurst VIC * Maya Corbett, 10 from Edithvale VIC * Ruby Moore (Sound of Music), 11 from Armadale VIC – playing SOPHIE
Hudson Sharp (Matilda, Dream Lover), 12 from Balwyn North VIC * Amon Prete (Dream Lover, Carmen), 12 from Warranwood VIC * Lenny Thomas (Priscilla), 11 from Bonbeach VIC – playing BILLY
Aston Droomer (The Bodyguard, The King And I), 10 from Templestowe * Oscar Mulcahy (Dream Lover, Kinky Boots), 11 from North Melbourne VIC * Elijah Slavinskis (Kinky Boots, Priscilla), 9 from Ashburton VIC – playing MASON
Gabriel Ingram (The Bodyguard, Kinky Boots), 11 from North Carlton VIC * Zac El-Alo, 10 from Coburg North VIC * Lachlan Young(Dream Lover, Kinky Boots), 12 from Glen Iris VIC – playing JAMES
Of the Australian child cast, Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “I’ve just seen all of the audition tapes for School of Rock in Australia and I know we’ve got a really great cast. We’ve got great kids in a show that is all about how music can empower children.
“I’ve never had such a good time as I have had with School of Rock and I know it’s going to be fantastic in Australia too.”
School of Rock producers, GWB Entertainment stated: “After an exhilarating auditions process reviewing over one thousand submissions from children all over Australia, we are thrilled to have discovered a sensational line-up of 36 guitar shredding, drum thumping, bass slapping and keyboard playing prodigies.
“Along with the international creative team, we were blown away by the talent displayed, which has taken the standard musical theatre adage of triple threat (singer, dancer, actors) to ‘quadruple threats’ – singer, dancers, actor, musicians. We’re also delighted that one of Australia’s great musical theatre talents Brent Hill will be leading our company as Dewey Finn.”
Due to popular demand, new tickets for School of Rock will be released on Monday 28 May.
Based on the hit film, this hilarious new musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.
Since opening on Broadway to critical acclaim in 2015, School of Rock has been playing to packed houses and is now captivating audiences all across the US and in London’s West End. It has smashed box office records, garnered rave reviews, earned four Tony nominations, and won both the 2017 Oliver for Outstanding Achievement in Music and the 2017 WhatsOnStage Award for Best New Musical.
Featuring 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and all the original songs from the movie, this high-octane smash delivers face-melting guitar riffs and touching romance in equal doses.
Previews from Wednesday 31 October, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne
Tickets from $69.90 *Subject to availability. $69.90 is restricted view seating on all performances. An additional transaction fee of $6.60/order applies to all online bookings.
Images: (top) London production & (lower) Australian cast (photographer: Jim Lee).