School of Rock



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Sami Bray

sami-bray-2018 SAMI BRAY (Summer) Broadway: 1984 (Little Girl). National Tour: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Cindy-Lou-Who). Off Broadway: Zurich (Fryda). Staged Readings: Little Dancer (Charlotte), Looking for Christmas (Joanie), TV: “Law and Order, SVU”, “Gotham”. Gratitude to my amazing family, SOR creative team, David Doan (CESD), Sherry Kayne (The Greenroom Management) and Tara Rubin Casting.


Julian Brescia

JULIAN BRESCIA (Lawrence) Julian is 10 yrs old and thrilled to be in the band! He’s been playing music and performing in theatrical productions since he was 2. Big shout out to Mom, Dad and brother Michael, Jackie Reid, Innovative Artists, Ron Tierno, Dynamic Kids, Brickhouse NYC, Robin Dunn, Kathy Renna, Tara Rubin and SOR creative team.

Camille De La Cruz

camille-de-la-cruz CAMILLE DE LA CRUZ (Tomika) Camille has been singing since the day she was born and is thrilled to be part of the national tour of School of Rock. With gratitude she dedicates this to friends and family especially to her mom, dad, Tara Rubin Casting, vocal coach Corey Markowitz, her Rockit family and to God.


Sammy Dell

sammy-dell SAMMY DELL (Billy, u/s Freddy) Sammy is thrilled to debut as Billy with School of Rock’s National Tour. Special thanks to those who have contributed to this amazing journey, especially Pat Foti and Endicott Performing Arts Center, voice coaches Anthony Laciura and Jordan Schreiner, drum-teacher extraordinaire Chris Adams, and Nancy Carson. Much love to Dad, Mom and Alison!


Bella Fraker

bella-fraker BELLA FRAKER (Swing, u/s Summer, Marcy, Katie, Shonelle) Bella is thrilled to rock out with the 1st School of Rock tour. From Atlanta, Ga. giving many thanks to God, family, Nancy, casting, Orbit Arts, Broadway Dreams, Bob and Debbie.


Eamonn Hubert

eamonn-hubert EAMONN HUBERT (Swing, u/s Zack, Billy, Mason) Eamonn plays guitar, violin, piano, ukulele, bass, mandolin, saxophone and performs with his dad in Hot Dogs & Gin. Thanks to Tara Rubin Casting, EPAC, and love to Mom, Dad and Rhiannon!


Mystic Inscho

mystic-inscho MYSTIC INSCHO (Zack) On stage since 4, now 9. Started with dancing, Mystic quickly developed into a singer, actor and multi-instrumentalist. He loves to shred on guitar. He writes music and lyrics. School of Rock is throwing him into an exciting future. Thanks to all his wonderful teachers. Insta:@mysticinscho


Alyssa Emily Marvin

alyssa-emily-marvin ALYSSA EMILY MARVIN (Marcy) Alyssa Emily is thrilled to rock across the USA with the amazing SOR team! Int’l Tour: Annie (Molly). Love and thanks: Nancy Carson, Tara Rubin Casting, SOR Creative, Bob Marks, Janine Molinari, Denise Simone, Raquel/MVS, Alex, Mom, Dad, Grandma Diane, Andy, Julia, Cookie dog, family and friends!; Insta: @alyssaemmarvin


Jacob Moran

jacob-moran JACOB MORAN (James, u/s Freddy) Rocking out on the drums since the age of 2, Jacob is honored to join the cast of SOR. Credits: Young Will (Big Fish), Simba (Lion King). Many thanks to my family, teachers Jason, Nico and Mr. Fleming and Merri Sugarman, Claire Burke and the cast and creative team.


Leanne Parks

leanne-parks LEANNE PARKS (Katie) Leanne is thrilled to be a part of the School of Rock family! She thanks the SOR in Port Jefferson Station, NY; all of her piano teachers over the years; the entire SOR Family, Tara Rubin Casting, and her mom and dad. Website:; Instagram: leannebarbaraparks


Arianna Pereira

arianna-pereira ARIANNA PEREIRA (Shonelle, u/s Tomika) From South FL, is thrilled to make her debut on the School of Rock First National Tour. Thanks to Tara Rubin Casting and SOR creative for this opportunity! Love to my family (especially mom), Tammy Holder, BCPA, FLCT, UCPA, and the entire “village” that made this possible!


Blake Ryan

blake-ryan BLAKE RYAN (Swing, u/s Zack, Lawrence, Mason, Billy) Blake rocks the piano, guitar, ukulele and harmonica. He and his brother perform as BroBand. Thanks to Tara Rubin Casting and SOR Creative. Love and thanks to mom, dad, Kellen. @blakeryanofficial.


Isabella Rose Sky

isabella-rose-sky ISABELLA ROSE SKY (Swing, u/s Katie) National Tour debut! Isabella lives to sing, act, dance, play instruments and write music. Thanks to her amazing teachers & directors, BCPA, MCC, JCAT, JECC, IMI Studio, SOR NMB.


Cameron Trueblood

cameron-trueblood CAMERON TRUEBLOOD (Freddy) Born in L.A., long-time drummer Cameron is honored to join the SOR cast! Love and gratitude to mom, dad, brothers (Dylan, Mason and Ethan), Tonya, Aaron, and Tara Rubin Casting.


Dylan Trueblood

dylan-trueblood DYLAN TRUEBLOOD (Mason, u/s Lawrence) Dylan loves code-cracking, scootering and jamming with his brothers anywhere they can jam. He is so excited to be joining his big brother Cameron for the musical version of one of their all-time favorite films.


Gabriella Uhl

GABRIELLA UHL (Sophie, u/s Tomika) From Cornwall, NY, and is excited and thankful for this national tour debut “in the band!” Thanks to my family, my voice coach Ilene Reid, and everyone who’s supported this adventure.


Review Quotes

Mama’s Mission – Date Unknown

“And what a treat the music is! All the child performers play their own instruments!…the amazing child performers…”

The Reader – 04/25/2019

“…the choreography, which consists delightfully of kids jumping while they sing and play instruments. Joan Squires, head of the sponsoring Omaha Performing Arts, calls them quadruple threats, and I’d only slightly revise her list of the four talents. They not only sing, act and play drums, guitars and keyboard, but they don’t just dance, they jump at a rate that would exhaust most adults.”

EU Jacksonville – 04/19/2019

“The kids were by far the best part of the show. They sang their hearts out and did so well. And yes, it was really them playing those instruments. I was so impressed with the young performers and look forward to watching them grow in their Broadway careers. Summer (Sami Bray), James (Jacob Moran), and Tomika (Camille De La Cruz) really stood out, though all the kids did an incredible job. Bravo! … The talent on stage was remarkable. The kids alone will delight you and perhaps inspire your own aspiring musicians to pick up a pair of drumsticks too…”

Broadway World Jacksonville – 04/18/2019

“School of Rock features many child actors who are some of the most talented actors I have ever witnessed. They all play their instruments on stage, as well as sing, dance, and act beyond their years. Zack (Mystic Inscho) can absolutely shred the guitar in ways I can only dream about. He also already has many of the rock-n-roll moves down, like sliding across the stage on his knees while strumming out a solo! Katie (Leanne Parks) has great attitude on bass, and also has achieved ultimate rocker status as she almost does a complete back bend while still rocking out. Lawrence (Julian Brescia) is amazing on keys! Lawrence explains to Dewey that he is not ‘cool enough’ to be in a rock-n-roll band, but by the end of the show he proved he was definitely a Rockstar. Freddy (Cameron Trueblood) on drums was astounding. His rhythm and demeanor blew me away! Tomika (Camille De La Cruz) has a voice that is so mature and astounding for someone her age, or any age for that matter. My jaw legitimately dropped as she sang ‘Amazing Grace’ in the classroom to prove she was no backup singer; she was a singer. All the kids were incredibly talented, and the audience fell in love with each one of them.”

Cleve Scene – 03/13/2019

“…Dewey’s 13 students begin the show as prim and proper 10- and 11-year-olds, the most proper of which is Summer, played by the wonderful Sami Bray. … One of the most powerful songs of the night is ‘If Only You Would Listen,’ where all of the students sing their little hearts out to the audience as they express how they wish their parents would listen to them. Just like the characters they are playing, the child actors are certainly above average. They execute JoAnn M. Hunter’s choreography with ease and have an obviously great rapport with Trainor. Most impressively, the children play their own instruments, and they do so incredibly well under musical director Martyn Axe. This includes Mystic Inscho as Zack the guitarist, Leanne Parks as Katie the bassist, Julian Brescia as keyboardist Lawrence, and Cameron Trueblood on drums as Freddy. Backup singers Shonelle and Marcy are played by Arianna Pereira and Gabriella Uhl, respectively. Rounding out the incredible singers is Camille de la Cruz as Tomika. Other talented child performers on opening night were Jacob Moran, Dylan Trueblood, Sammy Dell and Isabella Rose Sky. … The kids on stage are living for those moments where they stomp up and down singing ‘Stick It to the Man.’ They are thriving when playing and dancing to rock and roll. In fact, they appear to love everything about performing in this show.”

Broadway World Cleveland – 03/08/2019

“Most of the kids are excellent. Camille De La Cruz stopped the show with her wailing rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’ Special credos to Cameron Trueblood, Mystic Inscho, and Julian Brescia.” – 03/08/2019

“And, wow, can these 10- and 11-year-olds rock. Especially Leanne Parks as pouty, pint-sized bass player Katie; Julian Brescia as nerdy keyboardist Lawrence, who is overjoyed to finally get a chance to be one of the cool kids; and Camille de la Cruz as powerhouse singer Tomika. Sami Bray is also stellar as bossy teacher’s-pet Summer, who takes charges as manager. All the kids deserved an A+ — and standing ovation – on opening night.”

Talkin’ Broadway Cleveland & Akron – 03/07/2019

“Leanne Parks steals the show as she thrums the bass with the perfect face mask of rockism. Mystic Inscho literally tears it up on lead guitar. Julian Brescia finds his inner Gregg Allman as he commands the keyboards, and Cameron Trueblood keeps the place rocking with his drumming. Camille De La Cruz reveals an amazing singing voice that had the audience cheering her at mid-song.”

630 WPRO – 03/01/2019

“For starters, all of the kids play their own instruments. This is especially impressive because none of them look older than 11 or so. Mystic Inscho plays Zack, the guitarist who’s anxious to get his dad’s attention and approval. His playing skills are seriously solid, as are those of percussionist Freddy (Cameron Trueblood) and former cellist turned bass player Katie (Leanne Parks). Camille de la Cruz plays the shy Tomika, but watch out—her voice is one of the best in the show. Sami Bray as Summer doesn’t get a lot of solo time (her character is supposed to be a terrible singer but an excellent type-A band manager) but she has amazing stage presence and, when we do get a chance to hear her, a strong, clear voice.”

Broadway World Rhode Island – 02/28/2019

“All of the students in this show are played by actors ages 10-13, and not only do they all play their instruments live in every performance, but they sing and dance incredibly well too. The level of talent among this group is nothing short of astonishing, and the energy of this show is non-stop and infectious. Mystic Inscho as Zack, plays a guitar that’s almost bigger than he is, but with a skill of someone twice his age. Leanne Parks as Katie dominates the bass guitar, while also giving great ‘bass face,’ Cameron Trueblood as Freddy is an exceptional drummer, and Julian Brescia as Lawrence on the keys is a skilled pianist with some great comic timing. As far as the younger cast members, there isn’t a single weak link, and the performances across the board have a sincerity that is incredibly refreshing.”

The Georgetown Voice – 02/16/2019

“The real stars of the show are the children of Horace Green. Summer, the snarky band manager, is played by the talented Sami Bray. Her character is at times witty and charming, other times irritating and arrogant, and she absolutely lives up to her title as Broadway’s new Miranda Cosgrove. … The young musicians are also incredibly noteworthy. Leanne Parks adds a wonderful and humorous dimension to her performance as the bassist Katie, maintaining an exaggerated steely gaze at the audience whenever she starts playing. Instrumentalists also include the multi-talented nine-year-old Mystic Inscho—who plays Zack, the lead guitarist who plays like the world is about to end and he is the final act, and Cameron Trueblood—who plays Freddy, the loveable drummer. They play their instruments as well as they sing, as shown when their voices weave together in the song ‘If Only You Would Listen’ – a heartfelt ballad directed at their misguided parents who fail to understand their love for music…Tomika’s (Grier Burke) stunning rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’…”

Broadway World Boston – 02/15/2019

“Mystic Inscho (Zack) on lead guitar, Leanne Parks (Katie) on bass, Theo Mitchell-Penner (Lawrence) on keyboards, and Cameron Trueblood (Freddy) on drums play with brio and great technical skills, belying their young ages, and a couple of melodious backup singers (Arianna Pereira, Shonelle; Alyssa Emily Marvin, Marcy) and one powerhouse lead singer (Camille De La Cruz, Tomika) complete the band….The young’uns are also doing great ensemble work…”

Lynn Happens – 02/15/2019

“The best part of the show, of course, is the kids. They steal the show with their performance, but mostly for their instrument playing. Performance standouts are: Sami Bray as the bossy know-it-all band manager Summer, along with band members Katie (Leanne Parks on bass), Freddy (Cameron Trueblood on drums), Zack (Mystic Inscho on guitar) and singer Tomika (Grier Burke).”

On Boston Stages – 02/15/2019

“Camille De La Cruz is a revelation as Tomika, a shy butterfly emerging as the lead vocalist.”

The Boston Globe – 02/14/2019

“This touring version of ‘School of Rock,’ which last month wrapped up a three-year-plus run on Broadway, requires a solid cast of young performers, and it has one. Standouts include Sami Bray as the overachieving Summer, forever determined to earn a gold star for performance; Leanne Parks as Katie, a poker-faced bassist; Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence, whose social awkwardness evaporates when he gets behind a keyboard; and Camille De La Cruz as ultra-shy Tomika, who displays her hidden power in a memorable solo.”

The Daily Gazette – 02/08/2019

“Cameron Trueblood on drums, Mystic Inscho on electric guitar, Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboard, Leanne Parks on bass are simply fantastic. In addition, Sami Bray as Summer, the persnickety band manager and Grier Burke as Tomika, the wanna-be Whitney, deserve a special shout out. Amazing work.”

Times Union – 02/05/2019

“Mystic Inscho wails away at the electric guitar, little Leanne Parks thunders on a bass guitar almost as big as she is, Cameron Trueblood lays down the beat and bashes the cymbals as the drummer, and Theo Mitchell-Penner finds his inner Rick Wakeman as the finger-busting keyboard player.”

BroadwayWorld Indianapolis – 01/31/2019

“It’s rather hard to resist cute kids, but it’s even harder when you get to see them use their incredible musical talents to light up the stage. That is one thing I appreciate immensely about this show, and it is laudable that every child on that stage is playing live….They were exceptional at showing their aptitude for their respective instrument and adding some individual quirk into their performance. The back-up singers also made for great fun. But if I had to pick one kid, it would be Sami Bray, who plays Summer. I enjoy Summer as a character anyway, but Sami truly owned the role, occasionally drawing her own special applause from the audience….It’s not exactly hard to be blown away by the kids’ performances. Mystic Inscho, who can shred on guitar, Cameron Trueblood expertly keeps the beat, the charming Theo Mitchell-Penner, able to switch on a dime from Bach to Jon Lord. Grier Burke is charming as the shy one, Tomika, and Sami Bray showed us a buttered-up portrayal of Summer.”

On the Aisle with Tom Alvarez – 01/31/2019

“Spectacular musicians all, they included Mystic Inscho who played lead guitar, Leanne Parks on bass, Cameron Trueblood who was the drummer and Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboard. The band’s back-up singers, two of whom were Alyssa Emily Marvin and Arianna Pereira and the lead singer Tomika, played by Grier Burke who sang an a capella rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ were all impressive. Also shining was Sami Bray who played the band’s spunky manager and Sammy Dell, the group’s costume designer.”

CUA Tower – 01/24/2019

“The real talent was found in the children that played his students in the performance. The young actors, around the age of 12, played their own instruments. Sammy Dell, Grier Burke, Sami Bray, Julian Brescia, Mystic Inscho, Alyssa Emily Marvin, Jesse Sparks, Cameron Trueblood, and Gabriella Uhl stole the show with their dazzling music and singing. Every set they finished was immediately followed by roars of applause from the audience. The final scene featured the band going to the talent show and rocking out in front of the entire audience. The kids were so good that there were cheers for an encore, and they delivered, offering the audience a solo from each of them in the final song.”

DC Theatre Scene – 01/21/2019

“Zack (Mystic Inscho) is the pintsized virtuoso with the electric guitar, belting out riffs decades before his time; Katie (Leanne Parks) is the poker-faced darling with the bass as big as herself; Freddy (Cameron Trueblood) puts down a beat on the drums; and Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner), is a standout as the pitiable doofus who discovers his flair while on the keys.”

The Georgetown Dish – 01/20/2019

“What you are going to see and what will blow you away are the kids with their amazing talent. When the show opens there is taped announcement from Andrew Lloyd Webber who says, ‘If you are wondering if the kids in the show will be playing their own instruments the answer is YES!’ It’s a good thing he says it because if he hadn’t you wouldn’t believe it. They are all so talented….Summer (Sami Bray)…quickly makes it clear to the audience she has great acting chops. There are so many other incredibly talented kids in the show I can’t mention them all but some who just stand out along with Sami are Cameron Trueblood an incredible drummer, Mystic Inscho a lead guitarist extraordinaire, Grier Burke whose beautiful voice is perfect as the lead singer, and Theo Mitchell-Penner who is just amazing on keyboard.”

MD Theatre Guide – 01/20/2019

“But the undisputed stars of the evening were, without a doubt, the children! Leanne Parks as Katie the bass player was hilarious with her pouty rock face and attitude, not to mention musical talent. Cameron Trueblood as Freddy the drummer rocked the stage in the band and his funniest moments were playing the cymbals with exuberance during ‘Queen of the Night.’ Theo Mitchell-Penner on keys wailed away and melted our hearts when he told his parents that he was ‘one of the cool kids now.’ Mystic Inscho as Zack put out soulful guitar solos with the concentrated ease of a professional. Tomika, the shy vocalist, was played with aplomb by Grier Burke who sang her heart out on stage to thunderous applause during ‘Amazing Grace’ and the reprise of ‘If Only You Would Listen.’ Sami Bray as over-achieving band manager Summer stood up to Dewey with great hilarity and her disastrous rendition of ‘Memory’ had the audience in stitches. Sammy Dell as costume designer Billy portrayed great vulnerability in his tumultuous relationship with his father, especially in his solo on ‘If Only You Would Listen.’ Julian Brescia did a fabulous job as Mason, the nerdy techie who designed the lights for the show. Arianna Pereira and Alyssa Emily Marvin as Shonelle and Marcy, the back-up singers, blended harmonies and dance moves throughout the show with girl group glamour. Jacob Moran as James ran security for the band and Gabriella Uhl as Sophie was a roadie. Although they had smaller jobs in the band, they were valuable ensemble members, adding killer vocals and hard-hitting choreography that rounded out the class and gave needed life and punch to the numbers.”

BroadwayWorld Washington D.C. – 01/19/2019

“…the young cast deserves the first ovation. Grier Burke as Tomika is mind-blowing. Her character has the most emotional and triumphant arc, and there’s a big payoff when she finally reveals her huge talent. With credits that include Young Nala in Disney’s The Lion King, she obviously has a killer career ahead if she so chooses. Sami Bray as Summer is one of the most versatile performers I’ve ever watched of any age. She packs a precocious punch, nails the comedic timing, and dominates her big number ‘Time to Play.’ Miranda Cosgrove’s legacy from the film was probably the biggest to overcome, but Bray blows it away….Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence is a standout and steals every scene he is in. I sometimes burst into spontaneous laughter when I am reminded of how he stoically pounds the keyboard. Leanne Parks as Katie rocks the hardest. She has perfected the pout and can put a bass in its place. Cameron Trueblood as Freddy has the swagger of a rockstar three times his age. On guitar, Mystic Inscho has the moves to match his grooves. That’s probably a terribly uncool old lady way to put it, but he seriously shreds.”

DC Metro Theater Arts – 01/18/2019

“Filling the stage with youthful joy and boundless energy were the kids of Horace Green Prep. Each giving their all, this group of talented young musicians rocked the ensemble numbers ‘School of Rock’ and ‘Stick It to the Man.’ Lawrence, the keyboardist played by Theo Mitchell-Penner, had a spectacularly hypnotic way of playing the keys and an endearingly bashful but persistent growth arc throughout the show (from blazers to feathers). The band’s bedrock bassist Katie, played by Leanne Parks, had a rock jam face locked in as she drove the baseline home. Her duet with Zack, played by Mystic Inscho on lead guitar, was a shred fest that managed to be both playful and intense. I also really enjoyed the character of Summer, played by Sami Bray.”

Broadway World Toronto – 12/08/2018

“Each child discovers an affinity with an instrument. Leanne Parks rocks the pout as Katie on the bass, Theo Mitchell-Penner plays the awkward, yet charming Lawrence on the keys, Mystic Inscho brings Zack to life on the guitar, and Cameron Trueblood plays the wickedly talented Freddy on the drums. Sami Bray portrays Summer, the eager A-type who is assigned to be the manager of the band and Grier Burke plays Tomika, the new student at Horace Green who spends most of the show shy and silent before bursting out a powerful rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’…The kids are the ones who steal the show in this production. Watching them play, sing, and dance on the stage is an inspiration – and might just convince some young audience members to pursue artistic dreams of their own.”

Onstage Blog – 12/02/2018

“The kids are darned charming and so talented….They are outstanding to watch and look out for in the future! I really wish I could refer to each one as space does not permit me to do so. Sami Bray is a precocious and articulate Summer, the spokesperson of the class. As the quietly reserved Tomika, Grier Burke tugged at my emotions because here was a child who wanted to fit in but couldn’t for reasons I won’t spoil. Just wait until Ms. Burke sings. Wow! Cameron Trueblood as Freddy is drummer extraordinaire. Like Tomika, Zack is a quiet lad who keeps a great deal bottled up inside. Mystic Inscho unscrews the bottle cap and pours forth an energetic Zack who’s in his element as guitarist. Theo Mitchell-Penner as the unconfident Lawrence tugs at the heart strings but once he sits in front of a keyboard – hold on. Sammy Dell as Billy, the young lad with a love of style and fashion, is a hoot when he reminds Dewey that his choice of clothes leaves much to be desired.” ”

The Globe and Mail – 11/29/2018

“…all the performers in the young ensemble are an absolute pleasure to watch – especially the ones who can actually rock out. There’s a nine-year-old guitarist in the cast named Mystic Inscho (his character is Zack) who will make your jaw drop, while eight-year-old bassist Leanne Parks (playing Katie) never fails to amuse when she puts on her ‘bass face.'”

Mooney on Theatre – 11/29/2018

“On the other hand: holy wow, are these kids the good part. They rock out as soon as they get the chance, and their backstories are well-engaged. There’s Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) who worries about not being cool and having no friends, Mystic Inscho plays Zack, a kid with a father who never has time to listen to him, Freddy (Cameron Trueblood) struggles with a father determined that he learn to do ‘real work,’ and Leanne Parks rips it up as Katie who owns the entire situation once someone hands her a bass guitar. Sammy Dell plays Billy, a budding fashion designer from a ‘football family’ whose father busts him reading Vogue behind a Sports Illustrated and hyper-competent Summer (Sami Bray) who is 100% ready to be in charge of everything, ever. Their musical and acting talents are tremendous, to the point where there’s an Andrew Lloyd Webber recording played at the top of the show to assure all audience members that the kids sing and play their own instruments, live every night. (A person could be forgiven for doubting. Watching a ten-year-old wail away wildly on an electric guitar roughly the same size as their entire person might seem like a lot of stagecraft hooey, but it’s not. These kids are a gallon of rock ‘n’ roll in quart-size bodies.)”

The Star – 11/29/2018

“…so many talented kids in the cast to relate to and admire….The heart of the show is the kids’ performances, and this young touring cast totally delivers….Leanne Parks as bassist Katie, Mystic Inscho as guitarist Zack, and Cameron Trueblood as drummer Freddy are adorably great rockers, but my personal favourite was Theo Mitchell-Penner as keyboardist Lawrence. The back bend he does during a solo is truly unreal, and he brings great pathos to the character’s social awkwardness.” – 11/29/2018

“The children in this show are outstanding – each and every one of the 12 kids who play the students bring an enormous amount of energy to the stage. Mystic Inscho, who plays guitarist Zack, stood out among the young cast, not only for his amazing talent with the guitar, but for his remarkable stage presence. Leanne Parks as Katie the bass player also captured extra attention with her cute ‘bass face’ and her energetic personality. Grier Burke plays Tomika, who seems unhappy and uninterested in what’s going on during the first act, although she shows gusto during musical numbers. We find out why in the second act – she’s upset because she doesn’t have a role in the band. When Tomika finally gets the courage to sing, belting out ‘Amazing Grace,’ her powerful voice gave me goosebumps. As Type A student Summer, who yearns for gold stars, tiny Sami Bray gave it her all, stealing scenes left and right. She was such a powerhouse that I predict she’ll one day be playing the title role in the musical Matilda. And Cameron Trueblood, who plays Freddy, not only played his role with energy to spare, but his drumming ability was incredible for someone so young.”

Gwendolyn Rice – 11/21/2018

“And the kids – all between 9 and 12 – have a lot of stage presence. They really do play keyboards, guitar, drums and bass, and their strong, clear voices cut through Overture Hall easily. The type A, control freak Summer (Sami Bray) is both adorable and formidable as she takes charge as band manager. As Freddy, Cameron Trueblood attacks the drum set like a seasoned pro, twirling his drumsticks between sets. Mystic Inscho gets extra points as Zack – his lead guitar is as impressive as his emotional arc, trying desperately to get his father’s attention. Grier Burke’s Tomika comes out of her shell in a big way with an impossibly big voice, which drew cheers from the opening night audience. And as the socially awkward keyboard player Lawrence, Theo Mitchell-Penner really makes joining a band look like the key to cool.” – 11/21/2018

“Sami Bray, a 10-year-old from Memphis, plays Summer, a Hermione-type rule follower with a yen for gold stars. She’s a smaller version of Miss Mullins, and their little showdown in the hallway over Dewey’s unorthodox ‘teaching’ methods is one of the play’s best scenes. Among the other children, Grier Burke has a Broadway belt big enough to reach the balcony. Leanne Parks gets a ‘bass face’ going as she shifts from cello to an electric instrument, and Theo Mitchell-Penner does half-backbends at the keyboard. Mystic Inscho shreds on a guitar nearly as big as he is.”

BroadwayWorld Kansas City – 11/14/2018

“The kids are fantastic.”

BroadwayWorld San Antonio – 11/08/2018

“And the students, what talent each and every one of them had. You could see that each one of them was giving it their all and singing, dancing and playing from their hearts and souls. Leanne Parks plays the part of Katie. What she did on the cello as well as the bass guitar showed how talented she was and that playing the part of Katie was what she was born to do. The facial expressions, the drive and determination she shared, let the audience know that Parks has talent to be reckoned with. Also, Mystic Inscho who plays Zack shredded it up on the electric guitar as well as hammed it up, showing the audience his natural talent and drive for playing the part. One of the children in particular stood out most and totally blew the audience away. Young Grier Burke who played the part of Tomika had the audience gasping with delight as she surprised everyone with her rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’ It’s clear that Burke is talented beyond her years and her enthusiasm for the part of Tomika was evident throughout the performance of SCHOOL OF ROCK.”

San Antonio Current – 11/08/2018

“Certainly, though, the actors are game, not the least of which are a gaggle of simply adorable child actors…They’re actually the best thing about the show…and the kids are cute, cute, cute (including a solo turn on ‘Amazing Grace’ from Grier Burke).”

The New Orleans Advocate – 11/01/2018

“The energetic ‘School of Rock’ band consists of Zack (Mystic Inscho) on electric guitar, Katie (Leanne Parks) on bass, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) on keyboards, and Freddy (Cameron Trueblood) on drums. The kids play live on stage…Throw in a pint-size overachieving stage manager (Sami Bray), a shy new girl who aspires to be lead singer (Grier Burke), and a fourth-grade class rounded out with backup singers, roadies and security, and ‘School of Rock’ roars to life with numbers like ‘You’re in the Band,’ ‘Stick It to the Man,’ and ‘School of Rock,’ bringing audiences to their feet for the big closing number….even the most jaded of rockers will be moved by the cast of young performers in their plaid skirts and blazers, encouraged not just by the knockout performances but by the characters who discover their own self-worth on the road to rock stardom.”

Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette – 10/26/2018

“And I’ve got to say, these kids are seriously special….The kids – Sammy Dell as guitar-shredding Billy, and Grier Burke as the timid but talented Tomika, in particular – were completely engaging as we watch the cheek they give Dewey in the classroom, the confidence that getting into music brings them and the struggles they have at home getting their parents to pay attention.”

Fayetteville Flyer – 10/24/2018

“Yes, the child actors in ‘School of Rock’ really play their own instruments. And, as those who attend the national touring production of the show at the Walton Arts Center will learn, they play them very well….And those kids are worth the admission price, and a good reason to bring your family along with you….The rock band hastily assembled in Dewey’s classroom is made of double- (or triple-) threat performers who are a third of my age but at least three times as musically talented. (Okay, 10-20 times more musically talented.)…These children – there are more than a dozen total – are the stars of the show.”

VOX ATL – 10/20/2018

“The entire cast is outstanding but most notable are Mystic Inscho as Zack, a young kid who expresses his inner rock star with electric guitar, Sami Bray, who plays Summer, a typical Hermione character consumed in ambition, and Grier Burke as Tomika, a shy girl who finds her very powerful voice.”

Paste Magazine – 10/19/2018

“Of course, it’s the kids who steal the show, though, especially Sami Bray as the precocious band manager Summer, along with band members Katie (Leanne Parks on bass), Freddy (Cameron Trueblood on drums), Zack (Mystic Inscho on guitar) and singer Tomika (Grier Burke).”

Broadway World Memphis – 10/10/2018

“But we really must talk about the kids. Simply put, they are incredible, and possess the kind of talent that admittedly made this reviewer feel pretty inadequate in comparison. … Far beyond their individual talents (more on that later), however, what resonated most about the kids was how fine-tuned they were as an ensemble – clearly the result of well-developed teamwork on the road. Group vocal numbers, including the ‘Horace Green Alma Mater’ and ‘If Only You Would Listen’ did not sound like the typical shrill ‘Kidz Bop’ fare, but featured well-executed harmonies and blends. There is nothing remotely annoyingly precocious about the kids in this show. Their talent deserves far more notice than that. … As lead guitarist Zack, Mystic Inscho evokes a young Hendrix, while as bass guitarist Katie, Leanne Parks’ puckered lips and furrowed brow are treasures to behold. As Tomika, a young girl whom Dewey truly helps to find her voice, Grier Burke channels a young Whitney Houston, while Cameron Trueblood’s Freddy drums his way into the audience’s heart. Credit for particularly strong character work goes to the Memphis-connected Sami Bray, who plays the gold star collecting Summer (let’s face it, every classroom has a Summer); Sammy Dell, who as the band’s resident stylist Billy, has an eye for the fabulous; and Theo Mitchell-Penner, who as awkward Lawrence discovers he is far cooler than he realizes behind a set of keys. …the kids are electrifying and bring a bolt of excitement to the Orpheum stage.”

Dayton Local – 10/05/2018

“Though some are shorter than my waist, they possess more talent than is in my entire body. It is absolutely astounding to watch those who weren’t born yet when the 2003 film was released play musical instruments better than some seasoned professionals. There is much to enjoy about ‘School of Rock: The Musical,’ but it’s the kids who steal the show. … Prior to the show’s opening is an announcement that the children really are playing their instruments. Otherwise it would never be believed. I don’t even know how to download a song on iTunes, while Mystic Inscho as Zack (9 years old) is playing an electric guitar like Jimi Hendrix. I have T-shirts older than he is. Furthermore is Katie (Leanne Parks) on bass, who entertains with both her playing and stone-faced expressions. On keyboard is Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence, who expertly tickles the ivories and the funny bone with some lines. The drummer is Freddy, played by Cameron Trueblood, whose nickname should be Sticks, if it’s not already. Together they create a sound that’s equal, if not better, than some rock bands on tour. That’s not even all of them. There is Sammy Dell as Billy, whose flair for fashion makes him perfect as the band’s stylist. Julian Brescia shines as Mason, in charge of lights and Jacob Moran is not to be messed with as chief of security. Special mention goes to Summer, (a.k.a. Hermione) played by Sami Bray, whose sharp tongue and tenacious attitude earns her the job of band manager and a real standout amongst her peers. Last but certainly not least, is Grier Burke (Tomika) whose voice would be the top of any class. She has a flawless sound that is soothing to the soul. Burke’s rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ is a highlight and is powerful enough to make an atheist give praise.”

Broadway World Dayton – 10/04/2018

“These kids are truly amazing. I was impressed by all of them especially Sami Bray (Summer) and Grier Burke (Tomika) along with the instrumentalists. Wow. Mystic Inscho (Zack) on guitar, Theo Mitchell-Penner (Lawrence) on keyboard, Cameron Trueblood (Freddy) on drums and most notably, Leanne Parks (Katie) the tiny dynamo on bass were phenomenal. It is worth seeing the show again just to see those performances. My hat is off to all of the young performers. Their group number, If Only You Would Listen was as beautiful as their Stick it to the Man was rocking.”

Most Metro – 10/03/2018

“The knockout students, playing their own instruments with maturity and finesse and providing a moving rendition of the anthem If Only You Would Listen…”

Broadway World National Tour – 09/26/2018

“Many of the children are given the opportunity to shine on stage. This is particularly true for Tomika (Grier Burke), who eventually breaks out of her shell to belt out a powerful rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ in order to prove that she is a star and not merely a backup singer. Katie (Leanne Parks), on bass, is clearly taking her job seriously, complete with a pouty rock n’ roll diva expression. Summer (Sami Bray) is highly entertaining as the little Miss Know It All who is constantly nagging Dewey.”

Ottawa Citizen – 09/26/2018

“The kids are better than alright; they carry the show….There’s nerdy Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) on keyboards, an uncool kid who turns into a prog-rock wiz; enthusiastic cymbal basher Freddy (Cameron Trueblood) owning the drum kit; the unassuming Zack (Mystic Inscho) who shows he’s a rock-guitar virtuoso; and my favourite, Katie (Leanne Parks), the tiny cellist who becomes a monster bassist, complete with an instrument bigger than her and an intensely serious pouty bass face. She nearly steals the show with her larger-than-life stage presence. … One of the most poignant moments of the show features a series of vignettes in the kids’ homes, set to the cry-for-help ballad, If Only You Would Listen. Another is when shy Tomika (Grier Burke) finally musters up the courage to sing, and turns heads with a piece from church, Amazing Grace.”

Lansing State Journal – 09/20/2018

“…it’s really the kids who make this show. It’s a large collection of extremely talented children ages 9-11. As Webber informs the audience in a recorded announcement before the show, all the kids play their own instruments. It’s all real talent on display. Mystic Inscho plays Zack who gets assigned the electric guitar, and boy, can the kid play. The guitar seems oversized for him, but he soon shows that he is its master and puts on a great show. Leanne Parks is Katie and while her performance on the bass is superlative, it is her emoting and rock star face that steals the show. She puts on her face and the world belongs to her. It is the perfect combination of bad ass and cute. Grier Burke as Tomika does a lovely job of portraying a shy girl who has a lioness inside her waiting for the right moment to come out. Her vocal talents are outstanding and there is a moment in the play where she rattles the rafters and impresses the pants off the audience. Sami Bray brings a wonderful confidence and arrogance to the role of Summer, a pushy teacher’s pet who is determined to be in charge and bring order to her world.”

Lansing City Pulse – 09/19/2018

“As the pre-show recording by Lloyd Webber announces, all the kids do play their instruments. It’s the authentic musical talent of the cast that gives ‘School of Rock’ its principal charm. When Inscho shreds his guitar, or Trueblood pounds the drums, the thrill is real. When Grier Burke as Tomika hits her closing notes of ‘Amazing Grace’ during her ‘audition,’ the chills she causes are tangible. Even non-instrument players like Sami Bray as Summer deliver acting that tickles the heart”

MTSU Sidelines – 09/18/2018

“Stellar performances from Grier Burke as Tomika, Mystic Inscho as Zack and Sammy Dell as Billy. Burke’s voice is one to look out for in the future. Her character is shy in the beginning of the show but, by act two, cannot be forgotten. Inscho is truly incredible on the guitar, and his solos will blow the audiences away every time. Dell is the source of much humor with his many perfectly timed comedic lines poking fun at Dewey…The talent of all the kids in the production is truly mind-blowing. More than that, the emotion in their characters and the musical numbers is amazing.”

Vanderbilt Hustler – 09/15/2018

“The real stars of the show, however, were the kids. Aside from impeccable singing, dancing and character development, the students in the school’s rock band played their instruments live on the stage, not faltering on a single note. The amount of raw talent on the stage for such a young group was extraordinary…. Bray, along with the rest of the cast, was greeted with a much-deserved standing ovation.”

JHP Entertainment – 09/14/2018

“A major part of that joy comes courtesy of the show’s aforementioned younger cast members, mostly pre-teen, the dozen or show kids featured in the show play their own instruments, and they do so with confidence and talent far exceeding their young ages. Among the talented youth band are: guitarist Mystic Inscho as Zack, bassist Leanne Parks as Katie, drummer Cameron Trueblood as Freddy and keyboardist Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence….As for the kids, in addition to the aforementioned band-mates, Sami Bray as Summer, the precocious and persnickety band manager, Grier Burke as Tomika, the seemingly shy new girl at school who not-so-surprisingly wows the audience with killer vocal skills as the lead singer, and Sammy Dell as Billy, the band’s flamboyant young stylist…are all equally charming, and as equally adept as scene-stealing as the rest of their co-stars, young or old.”

BroadwayWorld National Tour – 09/12/2018

“They are phenomenal. Pure and simple. The young artists onstage play their own instruments – Cameron Trueblood on drums, Mystic Inscho on guitar, Leanne Parks on bass and Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboards – and they prove almost shockingly adept…With complete certainty, I can assure you that you will be gobsmacked by the performances of Sami Bray as the officious Summer Hathaway…Grier Burke as the quiet and self-effacing Tomika (whose soaring vocals on ‘Amazing Grace’ will pin your ears back); Mystic Inscho as Zack (the guitarist tagged as the greatest the world has known since Jimi Hendrix); Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence (the quintessential nebbish whose keyboard talents are stunning); Cameron Trueblood as Freddy (the energetic and forceful drummer who provides the percussive beat that drives the band and the action onstage); Leanne Parks as Katie (the dour-faced bassist who very nearly steals the show from the rest of the cast via one particularly noteworthy facial expression); Arianna and Pereira and Alyssa Emily Marvin (as Shonelle and Marcy, the band’s angel-voiced backup singers); Sammy Dell (the flamboyantly fey stylist for the band who rebels against his father’s demands he become part of his family’s football playing dynasty); and Julian Brescia, Jacob Moran and Gabriella Uhl who complete the School of Rock band of amazing talents”

The Column – 08/30/2018

“And what a talented band they are! Leanne Parks easily transitions from cello to bad-ass bass guitar, Theo Mitchell-Penner’s mad keyboard skills are ripe for rock and roll, and Cameron Trueblood’s over-exuberance on the cymbals (which got him into trouble playing the classical stuff) translates into his being a jamming drummer. Most impressive of the musicians, though, is Mystic Inscho on the electric guitar. He truly owns the stage when he’s featured playing…This goes for singer Grier Burke as well, who slowly grows from playing the new girl at school who barely speaks to the band’s lead vocalist. She has a young but strong voice that easily carried an a cappella ‘Amazing Grace’ into the rafters. … The ensemble work of the kids is great, as no one seemed to steal focus when it wasn’t called for, and they worked well as a team. A few standouts, though: as the completely organized former teacher’s pet Summer, Sami Bray is a tiny powerhouse of energy in a performance truly deserving multiple gold stars. As Billy, Sammy Dell has some riotous yet heart-felt moments as a kid who has no interest in sports and would rather read Vogue, listen to Barbra Streisand, and design costumes for the glam rock crowd. Tough role for one so young.”

Red Carpet Crash – 08/20/2018

“Most impressive in this production are the young performers – not only do these kids sing and dance, but they play their own instruments superbly. Above all else, the skill Theodora Silverman, Vincent Molden, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, and Theo Mitchell-Penner display is remarkable.”

BroadwayWorld Dallas – 08/17/2018

“Luckily, the classroom was full of gold-star castmates, and when those kids took the stage, their electricity could have powered the entire fairgrounds all summer. Each and every young performer skillfully commanded the stage and shared their expert musical talents, but it’s impossible to not offer extra credit to Vincent Molden (Zach, guitar), Natalia Bingham (understudy for Katie, bass), Theo Mitchell-Penner (Lawrence, piano), Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy, drums) and Grier Burke (Tomika, vocal soloist).”

Broomstick Comics – 08/16/2018

“It must be said that the children of School of Rock the Musical steal the show immediate following entrance. Zack (Vincent Molden) on the lead guitar, Katie (Theodora Silverman) on the Bass, Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) on the drums, and Tomika (Grier Burke) with the voice of an angel, in particular, wowed the audience with this presence and skills. In addition, Iara Nemirovsky is feisty as Summer Hathaway. She had be saying, ‘Yes, Drill Sergeant!’ School of Rock the Musical must be a fun time for them. Their infectious joy jumps off the stage and into your heart. Thoroughly enjoyed the solid performances made by the cast.”

Newport Beach Independent Online – 07/29/2018

“The show announcements at the beginning make it very clear that there is no lip synching or taped music here: these kids are really playing, and they bring it on! The cast of students, most early in their stage careers, are noteworthy. Vincent Molden plays Zack, the lead guitar protégé from the class. The sixth-grade Chicago native in his first production seems to be channeling his inner Jimmy Page (founding member of Led Zeppelin) as he riffs and swaggers across the stage. Joining Molden on keyboard is the resident class nerd, Lawrence, played by Theo Mitchell-Penner, who is also making his touring debut in ‘School of Rock.’ Every bit the nebbish, young Mitchell-Penner, who has classically trained on piano since age five, dons KISS style outfits and rocks the keyboard like a pro.”

Broadway World Los Angeles – 07/27/2018

“It turns out those very kids are the very reason this show is so darn awesome….But, when all is said/sung and done, the real, unmistakable reason that this show is so much fun is the young ensemble of terrific kids assembled for the show. While some shows employing a bunch of child actors can get a bit grating at times, this show actually offers up a collection of incredibly talented young triple-threats that are impressive as heck. They are so wonderful to watch that the audience can’t help but to cheer for them, to root for their success, and to make us all fall in love with them….the terrific Iara Nemirovsky…Some are actual sound-producing members of the band: studious Zack (Vincent Molden) becomes an electric guitar god, smoldering Katie (Bella Fraker on opening night) is the funky bass player, geeky and insecure Lawrence (adorkable Theo Mitchell-Penner) becomes the band’s ultra-cool keyboardist, rhythmically-blessed Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) takes on the drums … scene-stealing Huxley Westemeier…Later, the super-shy, barely speaking new girl Tomika (the remarkable Grier Burke) steps up with enough courage to volunteer as another singer, which she more than proves with a killer Act 2 audition that impresses her classmates, Dewey, and us, the audience with well-deserved loud cheers….It’s no hyperbole to say that the kids are truly the stars of this musical, and every single one is a jaw-dropping talent—quite a laudable feat at their ages. I smiled every time they were on stage. When they all rock out together, it’s a marvel of unbridled joy.”

LA Excites – 07/25/2018

“…it is the amazing children who ultimately win the audience members’ hearts with their undeniable creative expression as Dewey’s students….Leading her peers as the band manager is Iara Nemirovsky’s Summer Hathaway, a lovable goody two-shoes and gold-star seeker who moralistically questions authority and is empowered by a golden voice that is pitch-perfect, particularly during ‘Time to Play.’ Additionally, Grier Burke is a beacon of heartwarming light as the timid Tomika who sheds the sheath of her insecurities to soar vocally with an affecting version of ‘Amazing Grace’ and the emotionally resonant reprise of ‘If Only You Would Listen.’ Last, but not least, Vincent Molden (Zack) proudly represents all the indisputably cool redheads in the world with electrifying guitar savvy and an aplomb rock-star presence to match, uncannily defying his youth. Theo Mitchell-Penner (Lawrence) is mind-blowingly awesome as a charismatic keyboard wizard who might single-handedly bring back the synth sounds of the ‘80s. Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy) drums with the joy of a Buddy Rich and the unmitigated fervency of a Dave Grohl or Lars Ulrich. Understudy Bella Fraker (Katie) demonstrates that she can courageously step up to home plate and deliver a home run in the form of groovy bass lines any time she’s called upon. And Huxley Westemeier’s sweet performance as Billy shows us that every group needs a costumer/seamstress – because rock ‘n’ roll begins with an uncompromising and appropriately rebellious fashion sense. The brilliant Cameron Trueblood, Gabriella Uhl, Natalia Bingham, Olivia Bucknor, Carson Hodges, Theodora Silverman, Alyssa Emily Marvin, Jack Suarez Kimmel, and Jesse Sparks are the other essential members of the ‘School of Rock’ band – amounting to a production that receives the highest possible recommendation.”

LA Dance Chronicle – 07/26/2018

“The amazing cast of kids included Olivia Bucknor, Theodora Silverman, Cameron Trueblood, Alyssa Emily Marvin, Carson Hodges, Grier Burke, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, Vincent Molden, Huxley Westemeier, Theo Mitchell-Penner, Iara Nemirovsky, and Gabriella Uhl.”

Los Angeles Times – 07/25/2018

“…bolstered by a terrific chorus of pre-teen performers who, the center assures us, really do play their instruments – and do so quite well….But the true stars are the kids who sail seamlessly through some demanding musical and choreographic segments…These include Iara Nemirovsky as Summer, inflated by her newfound authority as band manager; Vincent Molden as Zack, a super-charged guitarist channeling Chuck Berry, and Grier Burke, a shy lass who finds her voice with a vengeance in an ‘Amazing Grace’ solo that’s truly amazing.”

Stage Scene LA – 07/24/2018

“And what gifted rock musicians these youngsters turn out to be, in particular keyboardist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner), guitarist Zack (Vincent Molden), bassist Katie (swing Bella Fraker), and drummer Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton), with backup singers Shonelle (Olivia Bucknor) and Marcie (Alyssa Emily Marvin) giving them a run for their money in the voice department, and painfully shy new girl Tomika (Grier Burke) revealing why backup’s not her thing. … kids who can not only dance and sing but honest-to-goodness play the guitars they strum, the ivories they tickle, and the drums they beat…Most sensational of all are School Of Rock’s twelve kid rockers, with special snaps to quadruple-threats Fraker, Mitchell-Penner, Molden, and Moretti-Hamilton for being more than ready to head up their own instrument-playing rock band.”

Broadway World San Francisco – 07/08/2018

“Fortunately, the kids are more than alright, earning an ‘A’ for natural talent and a refreshingly unaffected stage presence. All of them – Theodora Silverman, Cameron Trueblood, Alyssa Emily Marvin, Carson Hodges, Grier Burke, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, Vincent Molden, Huxley Westemeier, Theo Mitchell-Penner, Iara Nemirovsky, Jack Suarez Kimmel, and Gabriella Uhl – deserve praise for showing us a class of very real kids with unique personalities, quirks, and foibles that never ring false as stagey kid stuff. They carry the heart of the show…with a sweet humor, boundless energy, and bodacious musical chops – particularly those on solo instrumental duty – and smooth dance moves…”

Bay Area Reporter – 07/04/2018

“Standout child stars in his pick-up rock band include Vincent Molden on lead guitar, Theodora Silverman on bass, and Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboards.”

The Daily Californian – 07/04/2018

“…School of Rock finds its big draw in its talented cast of kids, some as young as 9, who play their own instruments at every performance….All the kids humorously amplify the caricatural personas of their roles, from sassy costume designer Billy (Huxley Westemeier) to nerdy keyboardist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner). But the most impressive part of their roles come from their adept instrumental performances – Zack (Vincent Molden) channels rock-star angst into his Chuck Berry-esque guitar riffs, while Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) brings wild energy to his drum solos. Iara Nemirovsky’s Summer holds her own onstage against Rob Colletti (protagonist Dewey Finn), commanding the theater and her classmates in ‘Time to Play.'” – 07/04/2018

“The main appeal is that the 11-year-old kids are really playing their instruments as they rock the roof off the place. It’s a joy to watch Vincent Molden doing the Chuck Berry Duck Walk while rocking the guitar as the somber Zack, while Theo Mitchell-Penner’s withdrawn Lawrence wails on keyboards, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton’s Freddy pounds the drums and Theodora Silverman’s Katie keeps it cool on bass….It’s really the kids who make the show, and it’s at its best when they have a chance to shine. Other standouts include Iara Nemirovsky as precocious overachiever Summer, Huxley Westemeier as high-strung aspiring designer Billy, and Grier Burke as withdrawn powerhouse singer Tomika.”

Yab Yum – 07/03/2018

“The kids are absolutely phenomenal. After all, this is a show that built its hype on the fact that the very young cast plays their instruments live, on stage. And that hype is completely justifiable. They are completely magnetic. The show is anchored by Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence (on keyboard), Theodora Silverman as Katie (on bass), Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy (the drummer) and Vincent Molden as Zack (the incredible guitar player). Every time they rock out live on stage, the audience erupts with excitement. Even those accustomed to seeing young people perform on a stage cannot help but be floored by the elevated talent that comes with the quadruple threat of children who can act, sing, dance, and play live music that rivals some of the greatest rock musicians in history.”

Vmedia Backstage – 06/30/2018

“This company includes some of the best Broadway kids including 6th grader, Vincent Molden, on lead guitar who stops the show at least two times with his amazing riffs….The marvelous kids in the two and a half hour musical include: Huxley Westemeier, Gabriella Uhl, Cameron Trueblood, Jesse Sparks, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, Vincent Molden, Theo Mitchell-Penner, Jack Suarez Kimmel, Olivia Bucknor, Grier Burke, Natalia Bingham and Carson Hodges all top pro’s….Moretti-Hamilton and Mitchell-Penner show off their impeccable voices along with the other ‘iGeneration’ in the cast….Katie played by the stand-out Theodora Silverman…Freddy, played by the talented Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton…Piano player Lawrence played by the the accomplished Theo Mitchell-Penner tells his new teacher he isn’t cool enough to be in the band. Of course, the clever Mitchell-Penner, is able to switch like a pro from Mozart to Queen and Electric Light Orchestra….the elegant little Grier Burke…”

SF Gate – 06/29/2018

“They act, sing, dance and play their own instruments – quadruple threats, in musical theater parlance – with talent and charisma to burn….the extraordinarily gifted young actors in its cast…”

SF Examiner – 06/28/2018

“…kick-butt performances by a dynamic cast, including some awesome 9- to 12-year olds….‘School of Rock’s’ best parts by far – and they’re even inspirational – are the numbers when the kids perform….Guitarist Zack (Vincent Molden), keyboardist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner), drummer Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) and bassist Katie (a super-cool Theodora Silverman) really rock out in ‘You’re in the Band.’ (A pre-show announcement emphasized they’re not faking and really playing.) And things genuinely heat up in ‘Stick It to the Man,’ the Act 1 closer, when the whole crew – Olivia Bucknor, Grier Burke, Bella Fraker, Carson Hodges, Jack Suarez Kimmel, Alyssa Emily Marvin, Iara Nemirovsky, Jesse Sparks, Cameron Trueblood and Gabriella Uhl – joins in. Given the right material, these kids clearly have a future in show biz.”

BroadwayWorld Arizona – 06/20/2018

“When all is sung and done, though, it’s the kids that make the musical a trip!…Fists are up, hands are clapping, jaws are dropping as Iara Nemirovsky plays Summer, the sassy, no nonsense, in-Dewey’s face, band manager; Theodora Silverman (Katie) slays the bass guitar; Vincent Molden ran away with lead guitar; Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy) shred the drums; Theo Mitchell-Penner (Lawrence) floated along the keyboards; and Grier Burke (Tomika) emerges from shyness to reveal a powerhouse amazing-grace voice.”

David Appleford’s Film and Theatre Reviews – 06/20/2018

“When Dewey starts the audition process and has his class substitute marching cymbals for rock ‘n roll drums, cellos for guitars, and piano for the organ, complete with backup singers and a classroom band manager who’s in charge ‘of the whole damn thing!’ both the music and the comedy reach giddying heights of delight that should have you beaming and applauding after each mini solo. The sight of prep school uniformed ten-year-olds holding instruments almost bigger than they are is in itself funny, but once that drummer emerges from behind his drums and suddenly knocks out a killer solo, followed by a pulsating electronic bass and two backup singers bursting into Lou Reed’s Walk On The Wildside chorus, you’ll be hooked….Theodora Silverman with her dead-pan, rock ‘n roll face, is irresistible as Katie, the cellist turned bass player.”

San Diego Story – 06/16/2018

“Each of the young performers who play Dewey’s pupils are very talented and are in big sequences where they get to sing, act or play various instruments such as the guitar, keyboard and drums. Molden, Mitchell-Penner, Burke, and Iara Nemirovsky as the band manager Summer Hathaway, behave like real kids, which gets the audience caring for their characters.”

Purple Words on a Gray Background – 06/14/2018

“The stars, playing their own instruments with panache, include guitarist Zack (Vincent Molden), drummer Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton), bassist Katie (Theodora Silverman) and keyboardist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner)….Among the other young actors in the ensemble, Iara Nemirovsky shines as the domineering student Summer Hathaway, while Grier Burke belts out a crowd-pleasing, a cappella ‘Amazing Grace.’”

San Diego Jewish World – 06/14/2018

“Iara Nemirovsky is a petite powerhouse as the class’ Little Miss Bossy, Summer Hathaway…the kids really do play [their instruments] and they are impressive. Vincent Molden as Zack busts some classic Chuck Berry moves on lead guitar. Theodora Silverman is no slouch on bass guitar and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton has some real chops on the drums. At first, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) resists being in a rock band because rockers are ‘cool’ and he’s never been ‘cool.’ But this boy knows how to jam on the keys. And we cheered when shy little Tomika (Grier Burke) finally found her voice in a goose bumps raising ‘Amazing Grace’ sung a cappella.”

San Diego Union-Tribune – 06/14/2018

“…the musicianship, including that of the kids, is solid….The stars, playing their own instruments with panache, include guitarist Zack (Vincent Molden), drummer Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton), bassist Katie (Theodora Silverman) and keyboardist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner)….Among the other young actors in the ensemble, Iara Nemirovsky shines as the domineering student Summer Hathaway, while Grier Burke belts out a crowd-pleasing, a cappella ‘Amazing Grace.’”

Times of San Diego – 06/13/2018

“We get some background info on the primary musicians in Dewey’s young band – all musically mega-talented, with 6th grader Vincent Molden, who plays lead guitarist Zack, as a standout; this is his first theatrical experience….The bossy, goodie-two-shoes girl, Summer (big-voiced Iara Nemirovsky, who’s quite good at copping an attitude) becomes the band’s manager.”

BroadwayWorld Denver – 06/01/2018

“The most exciting performances of the night however, must be given to the children of the cast. These are some of the most talented kids I have ever seen. With many of them playing instruments live and in living color, it made for an incredible experience. Stand out performances include real life 6th grader Vincent Molden in the role of Zack (Guitar), Iara Nemirovsky as Summer (Band Manager), Theodora Silverman (Bass), Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy (Drums), and Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence (Piano).”

Boulder Weekly – 05/31/2018

“They infuse the show with youthful energy and talent that overflows off the stage; there’s something so lovable about kids jumping around on stage shouting, ‘I’m in the band!’…But inarguably the rocket fuel of the production are the dozen kids who rock the stage, particularly Theodora Silverman on bass, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton on drums, Vincent Molden on guitar, Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboards and Grier Burke on vocals. Not even old enough to drive, these kids are seasoned pros – many of them as quadruple threats: singing, dancing, acting and playing an instrument.”

Glendale Cherry Creek – 05/31/2018

“The soundless Tomika, played by Grier Burke, surprisingly opens-up and slays a delivery of ‘Amazing Grace.’…The kids unquestionably stole the show not only with their acting but by playing their instruments live.”

The Know – 05/31/2018

“As announced before the curtain rose, they are, in fact, playing their instruments…Their young voices are strong, their harmonies impressive. And they are all so darned energetic. (All that jumping!)”

Signal Tribune – 05/29/2018

“The dozen or so child performers actually sing and play instruments here—including electric guitar, bass and drums—along with an insane amount of jumping as only kids can do. Clad in the plaid uniforms of the lofty Horace Green preparatory school, these mostly 10-year-olds cutify the production with their talent, including well-timed humor….The kids are also vocally skilled, including quiet Tomika’s (Grier Burke) strong rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’…The kids’ collective angst, caused by parents who variously don’t hear them, overschedule them and expect them to follow in their footsteps, is best expressed in their ensemble number, ‘If Only You Would Listen’…” – 05/15/2018

“…warm, engaging, and filled with invigorating performances by a cast of budding young musicians and singers who steal the show in almost every scene”

Arts Beat LA – 05/11/2018

“…for the rock ‘n’ roll scenes their expertise seemed genuine and evident. We see Vincent Molden as Zack the guitarist, Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence on keyboards. Theodora Silverman is fantastic as Katie on bass as is Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton who plays drummer Freddy.”

Los Angeles Daily News – 05/11/2018

“Still, the dozen kids are the undisputed highlight here. There’s Zack on guitar (Vincent Molden), Lawrence on keyboards (Theo Mitchell-Penner), Katie on bass (Theodora Silverman) and Freddy on drums (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton). And yes, as a recorded Webber tells us preshow, they play their instruments onstage. There’s the trio of singer: Shonelle (Olivia Bucknor) and Marcy (Alyssa Emily Marvin), plus Tomika in the lead (Grier Burke). And there are those essential team members: Sophie the roadie (Gabriella Uhl), Mason on tech (Carson Hodges), James on security (Cameron Trueblood), Billy the stylist (Huxley Westemeier) and Summer the band manager and young feminist (Iara Nemirovsky).”

Deadline – 05/07/2018

“The children in School of Rock strike a melodic balance with their performances, giving the perfect combination of mature awareness without taking away from the fact that they are kids. …they struck a chord with me… Then there is the young Grier Burke, who plays Tomika, the quiet, timid student that you know for damn sure has a hidden talent. Throughout the first act of the musical, you sit on the edge of your seat waiting for her to slay. The payoff comes in the second act when she delivers a take-me-to-church rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’”

LA Weekly – 05/07/2018

“But my special accolades go to the youngsters, each one of whom is as disciplined as any seasoned professional, whether they’re center stage or off to the side, doing whatever they need to do to stay in character…And the musical performances of some of those playing an instrument, including Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton on percussion, Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboard, Theodora Silverman on bass and – most outstanding – Vincent Molden on electric guitar, propel you into wow territory.”

Los Angeles Times – 05/07/2018

“When Katie (Theodora Silverman) starts slapping the bass, Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) smashes the hi-hat, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) blows the roof off with his keyboard improvisations and Zack (Vincent Molden) shreds on the electric guitar, all of them looking uncannily like members of Van Halen in the 1980s except somehow pure and innocent, the audience kvells like grandparents watching a toddler in Daddy’s tie.”

Onstage Blog – 05/07/2018

“…turns a piccolo player named Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) into a righteous drummer…Precocious student Summer (Iara Nemirovsky), always eager to follow the rules and earn gold stars, becomes the band’s manager. Shy Tomika (Grier Burke) blossoms and belts out ‘Amazing Grace’ to become a lead singer with Dewey. Shonelle (Olivia Bucknor) cast as one of the adorable backup singers is precious in this show.”

CA Highways – 05/06/2018

“Of course, the real stars of the show (at least in the eyes of the audience) were the kids, eclipsing the smaller adult roles. … All of these kids are talented, but quite a few deserve special recognition. Let’s start with the musicians: Silverman, Moretti-Hamilton, Molden, and Mitchell-Penner are great on their instruments, and really really shine in their solo moments. It reminds one of how much talent there is in the kids of this world – be it science or music or performance. Burke blows the audience away with her solo of ‘Amazing Grace’, and Nemirovsky has some great comic and leadership moves as Summer. Lastly, Westemeier’s a hoot as Billy.”

Daily Bruin – 05/06/2018

“The children also succeeded in embodying their characters through telling body language and facial expressions. Cello-player-turned-bassist Katie (Theodora Silverman) nodded her two pigtails while pooching her lips, and lead guitarist Zack (Vincent Molden) bent his knee and tilted his torso to the side, transforming the kids from upright, quiet students to confident, hip rockers. … Grier Burke as Tomika, the shy, slouched-girl-turned-sassy lead singer of the band, stood out from her middle school peers. In the second act, after expressing her aspiration to be a lead singer in the band instead of just a backup singer, she comes center stage, closing her eyes and planting her feet while belting ‘Amazing Grace,’ scoring her a spot in their ensemble.”

Entertainment Weekly – 05/06/2018

“All are worthy of praise, but particular props to Grier Burke, who plays Tomika with deadpan and who nails her emotional ‘Amazing Grace’ performance.”

BroadwayWorld Los Angeles – 05/05/2018

“These pint-sized phenoms are uber-talented, both as actors and musicians….Instead of wondering whether Vincent Molden (Zack) is actually shredding that electric guitar himself, you can sit back and enjoy how well he’s doing it. A girl bass player? Yes, please, and Theodora Silverman has the chops to kill it, along with the rocker attitude. Lovable Theo Mitchell-Penner is a monster on the keyboard and, in his final hour, proves to be quite the showman as well, while Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton tears it up on the drum kit every chance he gets. There are big, bright performances by Iara Nemirovsky as an annoying goody two-shoes turned band manager, Huxley Westemeier as a pre-teen costume designer destined to give Project Runway’s Michael Kors a run for his money, and Grier Burke, who blossoms from the shy new girl to a determined young lady who knows she’s lead singer material. Back-up girls Olivia Bucknor and Alyssa Emily Marvin have some surprisingly hip moves, and it keeps going right on down the line.”

Hollywood Reporter – 05/04/2018

“It’s hard not to be impressed by a preteen like Vincent Molden, who can shred an ax with the dexterity of Hendrix, or the fussy and charming Theo Mitchell-Penner, able to switch on a dime from Johann Sebastian Bach to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Grier Burke charms as reluctant diva Tomika, and Iara Nemirovsky gives a buttoned-down portrayal of Summer, the goody-two-shoes band manager whose references to female empowerment get a rise out of the audience”

LA Parent – 05/04/2018

“Now about those kids: Cast members Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboards (as Lawrence), Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (as Freddy) on drums, Vincent Molden (as Zack) on lead guitar and Theodora Silverman (as Katie) on bass are impressive musicians…The vocal performances—especially by kid cast members Olivia Bucknor, Alyssa Emily Marvin and the amazing Grier Burke—are strong throughout the show. And these young performers make playing their instruments, singing, dancing and acting (really good acting) look easy and joyful in a way that only kids can.”

Stage and Cinema – 05/04/2018

“…once those kids get a chance to rock out, the show comes alive, and they own the joint. Knowing they are accomplished musicians seals the deal. The happy surprise is how simply organically many of the child performers go about their work, with very few Dainty Junes among them…one deadpan look from young actress and bassist Theodora Silverman puts the audience on notice: This is a show where kids rule. As the lead guitarist with father issues, Vincent Molden stalks the stage with the ease and flair of a seasoned pro. He’s riveting. Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton on drums, Olivia Bucknor and Alyssa Emily Marvin on backup vocals, and Grier Burke emerging in the second act as a lead vocalist also have some wonderful moments. Perhaps the sweetest of the lot is Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboard, as the lumpy uncool kid who thrives by flirting with a new glam-rock persona. Standouts among non-musical members of the band include Huxley Westemeier as a campy stylist and Iara Nemirovsky as the frighteningly confident, over-achieving band manager…Westemeier provides one of the more genuine notes in the show, with a throwaway line about feeling sad when his mother gets Botox, because he cannot tell if she is happy anymore. Something about his honest delivery…”

Post Crescent – 04/25/2018

“But make no mistake, these kids pack a mean punch. Their vocals are clear, but it’s the fact that they play their own instruments live throughout the entire performance that truly kicks the ‘wow factor’ up a notch. Vincent Molden shreds the electric guitar. Theo Mitchell-Penner showcases incredible talent on the keys, as well as a magnetic stage presence that’s well beyond his years. Theodora Silverman dominates the bass – despite the fact that it’s nearly as big as she is. And, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton gets the audience on their feet with his epic drum solos. Sure, these kids are cute – but they’re also bona-fide rock stars. The entire group of students is worthy of all sorts of praise and applause (which they rightfully received during opening night, especially following the songs ‘Stick it to the Man’ and ‘School of Rock’).”

We Are Green Bay – 04/24/2018

“Twelve children help fire up the hot touring production of ‘School of Rock – the Musical’…The children are 10 years old, give or take. What they do is well beyond what any elementary school child you know can do in performance – certainly when taken as a bunch. The 12 children form a rock ‘n’ roll band-plus. They sing, dance, act and supply kid enthusiasm. Especially way ahead of the curve are the children who play guitar, keyboard, bass and drums. In the thick of songs, they are ‘on.’”

The News Herald – 04/12/2018

“School of Rock’s kid cast, a dozen youths who are every bit the equal to their adult colleagues and steal the show with their confidence, timing and effortless exuberance. Their first appearance, singing the ‘Horace Green Alma Mater,’ is Broadway smooth, but it’s really when they start working with Colletti’s Dewey that things shine, storming through the ebullient anthems ‘You’re In the Band’ and ‘In the End of Time’ and genuinely tugging at heartstrings as they plea with myopic parents during ‘If Only You Would Listen.’ Their chemistry with Colletti is easy and natural, and their own moments of camp – as they audition for the Battle of the Bands or try to hoodwink principal Rosalie Mullins…are accomplished ensemble acting. A taped message from Lloyd Webber at the start of the show affirms that the youth corps is indeed really playing their instruments on stage and the four – Vincent Molden as guitarist Zack, pucker-faced Theodora Silverman playing a bass that’s nearly as tall as she is Katie, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as drummer Freddy and Theo Mitchell-Penner as keyboardist Lawrence – are outstanding and even, given their ages, astounding. And Grier Burke, as the shy Tomika, stops everything with her a cappella rendering of ‘Amazing Grace.’”

Vizion Magazine – 04/12/2018

“The musical…features a room of talented triple threats – all under four feet tall. The energy and attitude of the younger members of the cast carried the show…Playing their instruments on stage, the students showcased their skills and stole each scene they were in. From the overbearing stage manager (Summer) played by Iara Nemirovsky to the bashful keyboardist (Lawrence) played by Theo Mitchell-Penner, the students brought the mannerisms, insecurities and rock angst of their characters to life…School of Rock is a fun romp, with a stage full of mega-talented kids who we are sure to see more of in the future.”

Buffalo Theatre Guide – 04/04/2018

“…the true stars of this show are the children. All the children in this show are phenomenal, and if I had space to name them all, I would. Vincent Molden as Zack, is a pro on his electric guitar, and my jaw just dropped when I saw him take to the stage with such confidence and ease. Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy, is a rock star on the drums, watching him go to town is so inspiring! Huxley Westemeier as Billy, is hilarious as the band’s costume designer. He packs so much punch into his delivery! I couldn’t stop laughing. Grier Burke as Tomika opens her mouth and angels sing! She is a young powerhouse with the ability to bring audiences to their feet when she finishes singing.”

Buffalo Vibe – 04/04/2018

“The kids are terrific, and we are advised by an announcer before the show that, yes, they do play their own instruments. And they play them very well. Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton is a charismatic presence as Freddy the drummer. Theodora Silverman’s bass playing with her Rock Star stare is delightful. Theo Mitchell-Penner is the desperately-wanting-to-be-cool keyboardist, Lawrence. Vincent Molden has the moves as lead guitarist, Zack. Grier Burke as the shy Tomika with the huge voice surprises everyone with ‘Amazing Grace.’ Huxley Westemeier is charming as queen-in-training stylist Billy with his measuring tape around his neck and penchant for glam rock. Iara Nemirovsky is Summer, band manager and teacher’s pet extraordinaire. They all, along with the ensemble kids, are very talented and are the heart of the show. Their song ‘If Only You Would Listen’ speaks to the desire in all of us to be heard and understood by those whom we love and depend upon. They talk of how difficult it is being overscheduled and pressured all the time. They have more energy than that bunny in the commercials, jumping up and down in their school uniforms, dancing, running their desks around the stage, and breaking free, at least for a time, of all the restrictions placed on them. The show-stopper ‘Stick It to the Man’ expresses their (and Dewey’s) frustration and anger at being pawns in someone else’s game. … and the charm, delight, and talent of the kids that elevates School of Rock.”

NealsPaper – 03/31/2018

“…a stage full of talented children…How can one not enjoy watching a mite like Vincent Molden wield a guitar close to his own size and wail out a riff that would do Clapton proud? Theodora Silverman is truly impressive on the bass, and Theo Mitchell-Penner and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton give you hope in the future of music as well…the kids do great and create a lot of energy when they have the chance. Oh, I almost forgot the excellent turn by Iara Nemirovsky as the brattiest prep who shows her sense of superiority is deserved.” – 03/28/2018

“The kids – all playing their own instruments to accompany the pit orchestra – provide much of the amazement and heart. As the too-stiff guitar prodigy Zack, Vincent Molden impresses every time he strikes his ax, and local young actors Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton and Theodora Silverman kill it on the drums and bass, respectively.”

UMD Writers’ Bloc – 03/22/2018

“But by far the most impressive part of this production is the musical talent of the students of Horace Green. Each time they picked up an instrument, they played it onstage, rather than relying on an orchestra. The theater was suddenly a rock concert with Katie (Theodora Silverman) and her perfectly exaggerated poker face strumming on the bass, Freddy banging out the beat on the drums (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton), Zack (Vincent Molden) wailing on the electric guitar and Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) pounding on the keyboard….In a musical so full of hyper excitement, the students’ emotional ballad, ‘If Only You Would Listen,’ is a moment of peace in the controlled chaos, and reminds us of the voices of children that are so often brushed aside.”

The Baltimore Sun – 03/21/2018

“Of course, the kids reveal mighty talents when given the chance to come out of their shells….Several of the young folks deliver some pretty good lines, too (one about Botox gets a particularly big laugh)….The young actors do their own singing and instrument-playing, and do it with a contagious enthusiasm”

89.3 WFPL – 03/15/2018

“The production’s best part comes when the band of young people Dewey finds himself tasked to teach get to play. This group take charge of their instruments onstage – electric guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums – the works. They sing and dance with an infectious enthusiasm…The best part of this musical and the production is that the children aren’t just cute – they look like they are having a great time and that transfers beyond the stage”

Arts Louisville – 03/14/2018

“The stage production also features kids who play and sing for themselves, and it is a wise choice because they are irresistible. … Each of the young company members are solid actors, good singers, and expert musicians where applicable. They were nothing short of amazing, and they are what set this show apart from all others. The strongest are the band members: Vincent Molden as guitar prodigy Zack, Theo Mitchell-Penner as keyboard wizard Lawrence, Theodora Silverman as Katie, who is only slightly bigger than the bass guitar she has mastered, and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as keeper of the big beat, drummer Freddy. Grier Burke sings with a powerful voice as late bloomer Tomika, and as Summer, the band manager and largely non-singing role, Iara Nemirovsky was appropriately domineering and authoritative”

Twin Cities Arts Reader – 03/10/2018

“The real stars of the show are all of the children. These include Ava Briglia, who takes on the bossy role of Summer; John Michael Pitera as the Barbra Streisand-loving fashionista Billy, Phoenix Schuman as guitarist/composer Zack, Gianna Harris as the painfully shy new girl with the incredible singing voice, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as the drummer Freddy, and Theodora Silverman as bass guitarist Katie. These little scene stealers, especially Pitera and Briglia, repeatedly light up the stage and create the show’s most delicious moments.”

Aisle Say – 03/08/2018

“The real rock stars of the show are undoubtedly the kids of Horace Green. These quadruple-threat kids between the ages of 9-12 can tickle the keys, shred on the axe, and slam on the drums just as hard as any adult rock band that this reviewer has ever seen. From the first time you hear them playing Mozart’s ‘Queen of the Night’ in music class, you can feel the raw talent that creates the School of Rock. The band is made up of Zack (Phoenix Schuman) on guitar, Katie (Theodora Silverman) on bass, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) on keyboard, Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) on drums…”

City Pages – 03/08/2018

“The show’s child performers (notably Ava Briglia, as the imperious Summer) are nonetheless winning…”

Minnesota Theater Love – 03/08/2018

“Once these young performers get to rocking out, it would be easy to believe that the sound is actually being made by adult professionals in the orchestra pit. These kids can play! …Each of the young actors is amazing at playing the transformation of their character while showing off their mad musical skills. Phoenix Schuman is the guitarist Zack, Theo Mitchell-Penner is the classical pianist-turned keyboardist Lawrence, and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton is Freddy, who uses his drumsticks on anything that’s around, not just his drum kit. Theodora Silverman has an awesome ‘rock face’ as bass player Katie, and Gianna Harris is the quiet Tomika, who turns out to be a powerful singer. The other students sing backup or take on backstage roles, led by Ava Briglia as Summer, the know-it-all band manager. Each member of the class has a personality and a moment in the spotlight, and they all deserve a mention: Olivia Bucknor, Tommy Ragen, Chloe Anne Garcia, Carson Hodges, John Michael Pitera, and Gabriella Uhl.”

Talkin’ Broadway – 03/08/2018

“But what really captures us are those young superstars, who not only deliver the required skills of singing, especially Gianna Harris as a soul singer keeping her light under a bushel, dancing, and playing their instruments like they just walked off the Grammy Award show—remember the name of guitar wizard Phoenix Schuman—but they each create unique, whole characters, kids with distinct feelings who work their way into our hearts.”

Cherry and Spoon – 03/07/2018

“…the true stars of the show – the dozen young actors playing Dewey’s students. They’re all so incredibly talented, so full of energy in the way that only kids can be. They fairly burst off the stage, jumping three feet in the air performing JoAnn M. Hunter’s punchy choreography with youthful abandon. Special shout out to the musicians – Theodora Silverman giving all kinds of attitude on bass, Phoenix Schuman as the angsty lead guitarist, adorkable Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboard, and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton never dropping a beat on percussion. Truly the joy of this show is watching all of these children do what they love to do, portraying children who are finally set free from overbearing parents to do what they love to do.” – 03/07/2018

“…the amazingly talented child actors….What’s most exciting about this rocking show is that the children are performing live on stage. Can you imagine being a bashful Tomika, played by Gianna Harris, and having the courage to sing your heart out at the Battle of the Bands?…It was touching to hear the kids perform ‘If Only You Would Listen’ and later they energetically perform ‘Stick It to the Man.’ Those were among the many standouts throughout Act I.”

Star Tribune – 03/07/2018

“But it’s the youngsters – who play their own instruments – who truly raise this ‘Rock.’ Led by Ava Briglia as take-charge Summer, John Michael Pitera as fashion-conscious Billy, Gianna Harris as shy powerhouse Tomika, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as drummer Freddy and Phoenix Schuman as guitar hero Zack, they are clear and competent with huge stage charisma” – 03/07/2018

“But the real charm of ‘School of Rock’ lies with the kids. A pre-taped message from Lloyd Webber informed the audience that, yes, they actually play their instruments and the results are spectacular, from the nimble guitarist (Phoenix Schuman) to plucky bassist Katie (Theodora Silverman) to the velvet pipes of Tomika (Gianna Harris).”

League of Cincinnati Theaters – 02/26/2018

“…the kids were simply amazing musicians. They all played their own instruments and were ridiculously talented.”

League of Cincinnati Theaters – 02/25/2018

“However, the real stars of the show are the children who are in Dewey’s class. The cast has some talented actors/musicians and there is not enough space to discuss all of them individually. Kudos go to Katie (Theodora Silverman), who was outstanding as the School of Rock bass player. Also excellent was the keyboardist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) and backup singer Marcy (Chloe Anne Garcia). I personally loved watching Garcia’s long hair bob and weave every which was as she was singing. She made that role so much fun to watch. Finally, kudos have to go to the band’s manager Summer (Gabriella Uhl). Uhl hit the right note (pun intended) for her part by being the bossy know-it-all and was delightful to watch.”

Cincinnati Gazette – 02/24/2018

“However, it was the children School of Rock that stole the show high kudos of praise to: Phoenix Schuman as Zack on guitar, Theodora Silverman as Katie on Bass, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy on Drums and Ava Briglia as Summer the Manager of the Band. They rocked their spirits out and stuck it to the man” – 02/22/2018

“The featured kids – most are between 9 and 13 – are super, too, particularly Tommy Ragen as Zack (guitar), Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence (keyboard), Theodora Silverman as Katie (bass) and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy (drums). And yes, they do play their own instruments. And Ava Briglia – also one of the kids – is a hoot as Summer, the band’s brassy manager”

League of Cincinnati – 02/22/2018

“The highlight of the show is the kids—their energy, the dancing, and of course the musicianship. These preteens slay it on drums, bass, keyboard, guitar and vocals. … Of course all the kids are great, but a special shout out to Theo Mitchell-Penner (Lawrence on Keyboard), Tommy Ragen (Zack on Guitar), Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy on Drums), Ava Briglia (Summer the Manager), Theodora Silverman (Katie on Bass), Olivia Bucknor (Shonelle) and especially Chloe Anne Garcia (Marcy Back-up Singers).”

BroadwayWorld Oklahoma – 02/19/2018

“And shine these kids do! The first announcement assures the audience that these pint-sized prodigies are really playing their instruments: Phoenix Schuman (Zack) shreds his guitar, Theo Mitchell-Penner (Laurence) tickles his keys, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy) wallops his drums, and Theodora Silverman (Katie) thumps her bass…all with gusto and aplomb rivaling adults two or three times their age. And all the kids, including those instrumentalists listed, show off their vocal, dancing, and acting chops – particularly Ava Briglia (Summer), John Michael Pitera (Billy), Chloe Anne Garcia (Marcy), and Gianna Harris (Tomika). ‘You’re In the Band’ and ‘If Only You Would Listen’ are two main highlights of the show, showing these young artists’ youthful exuberance but also their emotional availability.”

CTX Live Theatre – 02/17/2018

“Unsurprisingly, the children of Mr. Schneebly’s class are, indeed, true rock stars. No one has to direct them to jump for joy; they are up there truly jumping for joy with the electric energy of their youth. Before the show begins, an announcement crackles out of the auditorium speakers to assure us that yes, indeed, all the children are really playing their own instruments. And they do so with the technical skill of professional musicians. Phoenix Schuman as lead guitar-player Zack gets mad props for his solos and the ability to duck-walk and play guitar at the same time (a la Chuck Berry). Gianna Harris as shy Tomika has a wonderful and incredibly powerful voice. And finally, Theodora Silverman as the bass-playing Katie is a wellspring of playful energy and real rock-and-roll mischief.”

BroadwayWorld Austin – 02/16/2018

“…a stellar cast of kids we can’t help but be charmed by. … I found myself particularly partial to the easy going electric guitarist Phoenix Schuman (Zack) and Summer (Ava Briglia) who receives well deserved applause when Dewey says she’ll be a great President someday.”

Greenville University Papyrus – 02/13/2018

“Summer (Ava Briglia), Tomika (Gianna Harris), Zack (Phoenix Schuman), and the rest of the students performed brilliantly, adding high-energy to the production.”

NewsOk – 02/09/2018

“And it’s impossible not to root for the 8- to 13-year-old hotshots – Phoenix Schuman as stiff lead guitarist Zack, Theo Mitchell-Penner as insecure keyboardist Lawrence, Theodora Silverman as serious bassist Katie, Gianna Harris as shy singer Tomika, and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as hyperactive drummer Freddy – as they sing, dance and play their instruments live. By the time the story turned into an all-out rock concert, the stellar cast had the OKC audience turned into cheering fans during Tuesday’s opening night performance.”

Broadway World Houston – 02/04/2018

“Speaking of the School of Rock band, those kids play the hell out of those instruments. They made me realize that not only do I not know how to rock but that I have been desperately desiring to rock my entire life. Zack, the young guitarist played by Phoenix Schuman, is a prodigy (just like the young actor who plays him and the entire youth cast of the show).”

Houston Chronicle – 01/31/2018

“But what’s not expected is how the younger actors of the cast dive into their brief shining moments: Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, as Freddy, offering up a drum fill that’d make Neil Peart proud. Gianna Harris, as the shy vocal prodigy Tomika, belting out ‘Amazing Grace’ like in one of those unexpected (but in fact entirely premeditated) viral videos from ‘America’s Got Talent.’ Ava Briglia, as the class president Summer,…got a Tuesday night audience roaring with a reference to the gender pay gap”

Houston Press – 01/31/2018

“But it’s the kids who really deserve their moment in the spotlight. The band (Theodora Silverman, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, Phoenix Schuman and Theo Mitchell-Penner) really get their chances to show off and it’s worth noting, and emphatically as Lloyd Webber does in a pre-recorded message that starts the show, that ‘yes, they do’ play their own instruments. It’s a testament to the show that it feels like all the children – all 12 members of Dewey’s class – get a turn, whether they’re jamming in the band, singing backup, part of the crew or simply ready with a well-timed faint.”

Ladue News – 01/21/2018

“Making this School of Rock infectious with their musical skills as well as their acting acumen are Ava Briglia as the band’s ‘manager’ Summer and Gianna Harris as Tomika, the shy student who reveals a powerful voice on her Amazing Grace solo. Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton makes a snazzy drummer as Freddy and Phoenix Schuman delights as the inspired guitarist Zack. Theodora Silverman as Katie plays bass with gusto and a deadpan face, while Lawrence, who admits he isn’t ‘cool’ but mildly protests to Dewey that ‘I never said I was fat,’ is portrayed with humor at the keyboard by Theo Mitchell-Penner. Others contributing nicely in children’s roles are Olivia Bucknor and Chloe Anne Garcia as backup singers Shonelle and Marcy respectively. John Michael Pitera is a hoot as costumer Billy, a lad with a flair for style and a love for fashion magazines. Gabriella Uhl plays the ‘roadie’ student Sophie, Carson Hodges is Mason, the ‘tech’ advisor, and Tommy Ragen plays ‘security’ student James”

Snoop’s Theatre Thoughts – 01/21/2018

“The real draw of this show is the live music, played on stage by the child performers with energy and style…the kids really make the show, from Ava Briglia as bossy band manager Summer, to Gianna Harris as shy but vocally gifted Tomika, to Phoenix Schuman as guitarist and songwriter Zack, to Theodora Silverman as cellist-turned-bass player Katie, to Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as drummer Freddy, to Theo Mitchell-Penner as insecure keyboardist Lawrence, to John Michael Pitera as enthusiastic band stylist Billy, and more. The entire cast of kids is great—putting on a great show playing their instruments with attitude, and believably portraying the transformation from sheltered prep school kids to confident rockers”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Suburban Journals) – 01/18/2018

“From Phoenix Schuman on guitar (who broke out a little duck walk on the same stage once famously graced by Chuck Berry) to Theodora Silverman on bass to Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton on drums and Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboard, the kids certainly have the talent to rock with the best of them. Add in the impressive vocals of Gianna Harris and the comedic performances of Ava Briglia and John Michael Pitera and you have one of the finest collections of pre-pubescent performers this side of the Disney Channel”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Entertainment) – 01/17/2018

“…an ensemble of child actors so talented, they take their show to the head of class. These kids sing with strong voices, perform choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter’s dances with abundant verve and, when called on to do so, play their own instruments…Best of all, they can act. They all speak clearly, an accomplishment in itself, and they all stay true to their clearly delineated characters. They sparkle whether they’re performing flashy solos or dancing up a storm as ‘backup singers.’ A large group that includes Ava Briglia, Gianna Harris, Theo Mitchell-Penner, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, John Michael Pitera, Phoenix Schuman, Theodora Silverman and a number of gifted others, they make the show rock and roll…But the musical is all about those terrific kids”

Art on My Sleeve – 01/13/2018

“…it’s the kids who give the show its impish, wholesome Monkees energy. Dynamic Phoenix Schuman on guitar, nerdy Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboard, grumpy Theodora Silverman on bass, and hipster Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton on drums are a cornucopia of musical precocity. The mini character roles have the same Broadway excellence, bossy little Ava Briglia emerging as company manager, effeminate John Michael Pitera finding his passion in costume design, and withdrawn Gianna Harris breaking out of her cocoon with a smashing a cappella ‘Amazing Grace.’”

BroadwayWorld Charlotte – 01/12/2018

“…it’s the kids who give the show its impish, wholesome Monkees energy. Dynamic Phoenix Schuman on guitar, nerdy Theo Mitchell-Penner on keyboard, grumpy Theodora Silverman on bass, and hipster Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton on drums are a cornucopia of musical precocity. The mini character roles have the same Broadway excellence, bossy little Ava Briglia emerging as company manager, effeminate John Michael Pitera finding his passion in costume design, and withdrawn Gianna Harris breaking out of her cocoon with a smashing a cappella ‘Amazing Grace.’”

Charlotte Magazine – 01/10/2018

“Those ripping solos from guitarist Zack (Phoenix Schuman), drummer Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton), bassist Katie (Theodora Silverman), and keyboardist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) are played live by the kids in the band”

The Charlotte Observer – 01/10/2018

“But the most remarkable thing – so remarkable that Lloyd Webber can be heard before the show, assuring us it’s true – is that four young actors, all apparently pre-teens, play their instruments live. Correction: rule their instruments. Drummer Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, keyboardist Theo Mitchell-Penner, bassist Theodora Silverman and especially guitarist Phoenix Schuman deliver body-shaking rock that makes no excuses for age….shy student Tomika, played winningly by Gianna Harris, will find her new rock voice in the school band (a sweet one).”

Tampa Bay Times – 01/02/2018

“…the fine young musicians and dancers on stage (guitarist Phoenix Schuman and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton on the drums are particularly impressive)…”

Orlando Weekly – 12/2017

“His charges, particularly Gianna Harris as Tomika and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy, are sprightly and determined in their musicianship”

1059 Sunny FM – 12/27/2017

“And these are some pretty amazing kids. In an announcement before the show, Webber confirms that the children onstage are indeed playing the instruments in their hands. Their musicianship is impressive for any age. … Billy (John Michael Pitera), a young boy who becomes the band’s costumer and hides copies of Vogue inside copies of Sports Illustrated to try and keep his true interests from his father, is hilarious and endearing all at once”

Broadway World Orlando – 12/27/2017

“With a show like this, you expect all the kids to be really good singers and dancers. They do not disappoint…They all genuinely look like they are having fun on stage, which channels to the audience…More impressively is the fact that there are a few kids in the show who play their instruments live. Katie played by Theodora Silverman plays the bass and has the attitude to match. Though the bass looks bigger than her, she commands the instrument like a rock goddess. Lawrence “on the keys” played by Theo Mitchell-Penner is definitely a musician who appreciates and feels the music. Freddy played by Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton is an amazing drummer with boundless energy that matches the pace of the show. And Zack on guitar played by Phoenix Schuman has amazing skills and fast fingers. Aside from the musicians other stand out performances include Ava Briglia, who plays Summer. Summer is a type A, bossy, know-it-all, young lady who is very well cast in her role. You can just see her wanting to do what’s right. On the opposite spectrum is Tomika played by Gianna Harris…Without spoilers, Harris has an amazing voice that sent chills down my spine.”

Fansided – 12/27/2017

“The younger performers steal every number. In addition to singing, dancing and acting, the younger performers play all their own instruments on stage. Their talent is truly inspiring. … In the second act, when Tomika (played by Gianna Harris) finds her voice, the audience enthusiastically responds. Her moment resonates so well. While her stunning voice fills the theater, the moment reminds everyone to believe in themselves”

Orlando Sentinel – 12/27/2017

“But the child performers onstage are mighty fun to watch, especially Phoenix Schuman as reserved Zack and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as drumming dynamo Freddy”

Orlando Weekly – 12/27/2017

“The production’s child stars, who play their own instruments live, are all impressively talented…”

Berkshire Fine Arts – 12/20/2017

“Among the child actors, the standouts include Gianna Harris as Tomika, an insecure girl with a load of talent. Harris’ rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ will drop draws with her deft voice control. She emits a sincere expressive and strong sound without it sounding forced. Ava Briglia shines as Summer, a studious girl who desires the education her parents are paying for. Ava, speaking with a voice oozing with confidence, convincingly conveys a precocious, no-nonsense, opinionated, even commanding personality. The youngsters prove to be quadruple threats; they can sing, dance, act and play musical instruments…they deserve commendations.”

Florida Theater On Stage – 12/16/2017

“The kids in the band with their volcanic riffs and boundless bounding energy are essential to the show’s success and this tour certainly has them in its large cast including vocalist Gianna Harris, keyboardist Theo Mitchell-Penner, percussionist Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, bassist Theodora Silverman and blazing lead guitarist Phoenix Schuman.”

BocaMag – 12/06/2017

“Each performer is a quadruple threat, and they make glorious harmony together while deconstructing rock ‘n’ roll into its constituent parts….Each of the actors has his or her moment, but special recognition is due Gianna Harris as the cripplingly shy Tomika, who slays her classmates with a soul-stirring rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.’”

Broadway World Greenville – 12/06/2017

“Ava Briglia, Gianna Harris, Phoenix Schuman, Theo Mitchell-Penner, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, Theodora Silverman and a half dozen other kids steal the show as Dewey’s students. They play their own instruments on stage and jump and bounce around with gusto. They’re a delight to watch. … the overall energy – especially from the kids – is overpowering and endearing”

Carolina Curtain Call – 12/06/2017

“There’s the spectacular Zack (Phoenix Schuman) on electric guitar, groovy cellist Katie (Theodora Silverman) on bass, nerdy pianist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) on keyboard, and dynamic Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) on the skins. Two of the young ladies Shonelle (Olivia Bucknor) and Marcy (the energetic Chloe Anne Garcia) become back-up singers; teacher’s pet and taskmaster Summer (Ava Briglia) is the band’s manager; obviously gay Billy (John Michael Pitera) is the stylist; and shy newcomer Tomika (Gianna Harris) blooms as the band’s female soloist. …the youth effectively tug at their parents’ (and our) heartstrings in ‘If Only You Would Listen.’”

Journal Sentinel – 11/22/2017

“Ultimately, though, this show belongs – as it should – to its kids (they’re all good; my fave was Theodora Silverman, the quiet but plucky bassist). … The show’s best such moment – a show-stopper on Tuesday night, as a moved audience burst into spontaneous and heartfelt applause – comes when the shyest and quietest child proves her right to be a singer in the band by delivering a tender and nuanced ‘Amazing Grace.’ Sung by Gianna Harris as the previously tongue-tied Tomika, its sound was sweet indeed.”

On Milwaukee – 11/22/2017

“As wonderful as both Murphy and Dorsett Sharp are, the real stars of the show are the students. Simply put, these kids rock. Each performer consistently proves that they are a quadruple threat. Their acting is genuine, their singing voices are strong, their dancing is flawless and I still can’t believe kids that young can play instruments that well. ‘You’re In the Band’ and ‘Stick it to the Man’ were easily the best numbers of the night, as these memorable songs allowed the kids’ diverse musical talents to take their rightful place at center stage. Extra credit goes to Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton and Phoenix Schuman; they come dangerously close to the show with their epic portrayals of Freddy and Zack.”

Hyde Park Herald – 11/15/2017

“Then, there are the kids, who not only play their own music—we’re assured by an opening announcement—but also craft distinctive, endearing characters, starting with Briglia’s bossy, resourceful Summer, who is tapped as band manager. Standouts for me were Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as rambunctious Freddy on drums and Theodora Silverman as deadpan bass player Katie (with bobbing pigtails), but kudos also go to Phoenix Schuman as guitarist Zack, who proves to be a musical prodigy, Theo Mitchell-Penner as gluten-intolerant Lawrence, who thinks he’s not cool enough to be in a band, and Gianna Harris as Tomika, who’s too shy to even speak until Dewey encourages her to let loose with the powerhouse voice of a lead singer.”

Times Square Chronicles – 11/15/2017

“The kids in the cast range in age from 9 to 13, each liberating their buttoned up prep school exterior to release their inner rock gods and goddesses. The class includes over a dozen kids that will tickle your funny bone, including the uptight know-it-all, Summer (Ava Briglia), the equally shy singer, Tomika (Gianna Harris), and lead guitarist, Zack (Alex Louis). I challenge anyone to not tap a toe to the infectious fun that includes the originals ‘Stick It To The Man,’ ‘In The End Of Time’ and the title track ‘School of Rock.’…The kids in this cast will warm the hearts of any mid-November chilly Chicagoan for a few hours.”

Chicago Onstage – 11/09/2017

“Aside from the main adults, it is the kids who absolutely steal this show. Briglia is a force as the overachieving Summer. Watching Theodora Silverman make ‘bassist faces’ was such a hoot that it nearly overshadowed the immense talent the young girl has on the instrument. Theo Mitchell-Penner’s Lawrence is clearly a mini-Dewey in his social ineptitude as well as his love of the music (though his keyboard talent may well outpace his leader’s guitar playing). Phoenix Schuman’s Zack, the band’s lead guitarist, shows his loneliness and pain as powerfully as he wields his axe. And Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) can already play his kit twice as well as most rock drummers I know. The fifth of the ‘If Only You Would Listen’ group, Tomika (Gianna Harris) has a powerful talent that I can’t reveal here because it comes as a surprise in the play, but it’s worth waiting for. These kids are honestly so good that, when I saw a couple of them in a restaurant after the show, another member of my party suggested we get autographs. (We didn’t.)”

Talkin’ Broadway – 11/09/2017

“Colletti also has some winning co-stars in the remarkable young actors who play Dewey’s students. Yes, they impress by being able to play their instruments as well as sing, but even more impressive is their skill as comic actors. They’re musical, they can move, and they’re funny. There’s Ava Briglia as the no-it-all Summer who becomes ‘manager’ of the band Dewey forms called School of Rock. She’s snotty without being grating and smoothly makes the transition from gold-star-grubbing nemesis to ally. Theo Mitchell-Penner is the pianist turned keyboardist Lawrence, who thinks he’s not cool enough for the band, but proves to be a rock virtuoso on the electronic ivories. Equally virtuosic is Zack on guitar, played by a very cool Phoenix Schuman. Gianna Harris is sweetly heartbreaking as Tomika…No vocal slouches either are Olivia Bucknor and Chloe Anne Garcia as the backup singers Shonelle and Marcy. Katie (Theodora Silverman) plays a mean bass and Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) is a big-league drummer. In charge of the fabulous costumes is the equally fab Billy (John Michael Pitera, who shows stylish gusto in the role).”

Chicago on the Aisle – 11/08/2017

“The 12 kids who play the fifth-graders…are a diverse lot of terrifically gifted performers who do an adorable job of seeming awkward and gangly at first…Guitarist Zack (Phoenix Schuman) gets an awesome axe, skinny cellist Katie (Theodora Silverman) becomes a phenom on the bass guitar, Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) and Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) are lions let loose on the drums and keyboard, respectively.” ”

Chicago Tribune – 11/08/2017

“The young cast includes Ava Briglia, who is letter-perfect as class know-it-all Summer; Theo Mitchell-Penner in the role of Lawrence, young master of the keyboards (who in real life has been playing the piano since age 5); Phoenix Schuman, who handles the guitar like a pro, plays Zack (and has been playing guitar since age 8); and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, who plays drummer Freddy (and also can play piano, bass and xylophone). The musical proteges also include Theodora Silverman as bass-playing Katie.”

Chicago Theatre & Concert Reviews – 11/07/2017

“The students who become members of the School of Rock Band are all excellent, and this is where the heart of this production dwells. Perfectionist and brown-nosing Summer is magnificent, as portrayed by young Broadway veteran, Ava Briglia; as Tomika, the shy little girl with the great big voice, Gianna Harris is wonderful and heartbreaking. Little Theodora Silverman is perfect as the deadpan bass player, Katie; backup vocalists/dancers Shonelle and Marcy are played with moxie and musical talent by Olivia Bucknor and, especially, Chloe Anne Garcia. Little Zack, the talented guitar-playing, music-composing son of an uptight father, is sweetly played by Phoenix Schuman. Master keyboardist and social underdog Lawrence is portrayed with shy sensibility by Theo Mitchell-Penner. Freddy, the little boy who once only played the cymbals, transforms into the Band’s gifted drummer. Here, he’s created by brilliant young percussionist Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton. Played with flair, attitude and festive confidence, John Michael Pitera is delightful as fashionista Billy. As Mason, James and Sophie young Thespians Carson Hodges, Tommy Ragen, Gabriella Uhl, who are also the understudies for other roles, are first-rate.”

BroadwayWorld Chicago – 11/06/2017

“Still, it’s the kids (who actually play their instruments) that steal the show. These include Phoenix Schuman as Zack (lead guitar), Theodora Silverman as Katie (bass), Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy (drums). Ava Briglia also deserves a shout out as Summer, the over-achieving know-it-all and the band’s manager.”

Chicago Theater Beat – 11/06/2017

“Both Phoenix Schuman and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton are wondrous on electric guitar and drums, respectively, and bassist Theodora Silverman has both musical chops and an adorable pout. Gianna Harris shines as Tomika, a quiet outcast who reveals a remarkable singing voice, and Briglia’s Summer perfectly portrays a take-charge Type-A personality.”

The Fourth Walsh – 11/06/2017

“…these kids are amazing. They sing. They dance. They rock. And some of them are even jamming down on instruments. An animated Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy) hitting the sticks with zest. An adorably unassuming Phoenix Schuman (Zack) and subtly badass Theodora Silverman (Katie) amp up the volume on guitar. All the kids lend voice and attitude to the musical numbers. … It’s the kids vs the adults. And these kids are clearly the winners! Two other notable standouts are the hilariously, self assured Ava Briglia (Summer) and the powerhouse songstress Gianna Harris (Tomika).”

Northwest Herald – 11/06/2017

“And the kids are excellent across the board. Standouts include Phoenix Schuman as talented guitarist and budding composer Zack; Theodora Silverman as cello/bass player (with an attitude) Katie; Ava Briglia as star student, band manager and maybe future president Summer; and Gianna Harris as Tomika, the shyest student whose talent eventually stuns her classmates and the audience”

Splash Magazine – 11/05/2017

“The show has seventeen youngsters in the cast, some of the understudying another role as well, and the depth of talent is stunning. A few of the actors stood out to me, each for shining in their own unique ways. The singing and dancing of Gianna Harris was ebullient yet controlled; I only wish she had been able to strut her stuff earlier on in the show. Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton’s drum playing was amazing, especially when he took it from the drumset and onto the floor, or whatever surface was around. Phoenix Schuman wasn’t much bigger than his guitar, but he displayed an incredible amount of skill and stage presence. Each of the actors had a specific character that they embodied with ease; they all have a bright future in theater, and I look forward to watching them grow as performers.”

Chicago Theater and Arts – 11/04/2017

“However, it wouldn’t work if not for the show’s very talented youngsters. They beautifully portray kids whose parents don’t listen to them or consider what they want and need. And yes, the kids really do play the instruments they use in the show”

Chicagoland Musical Theatre – 11/04/2017

“When the stage becomes littered with diminutive rock stars singing ‘Stick It to the Man’ with such unbridled gusto, one has to think it would make Libertyville native and ‘Rage Against the Machine’ founder Tom Morello proud…and as Tomika (‘I’m not a backup singer’), whose rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ might just be this production’s greatest musical highlight, Gianna Harris.”

Dadapalooza! – 11/04/2017

“The performers are great, the kid musicians are ASTONISHING…The kids in the show (who are on stage a good portion of the time) were great and seemed like real pros, and watching the kids play the music…is mindblowing. They are 13 and 14, some as young as 9, and they really do rock”

Around the Town Chicago – 11/03/2017

“These kids, by the way, are the most energetic and talented I have seen assembled on one stage in a long time. Each and every one is a character that represents kids who are smart but unhappy with the lives they lead. … it is the kids that make this show a brilliant addition to the Broadway In Chicago season. Each and everyone is brilliant and they all play their own musical instruments….The kids are: Ava Briglia, Olivia Bucknor, Bella Fraker, Chloe Anne Garcia, Gianna Harris, Alex Louis, Theo Mitchell-Penner, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, John Michael Pitera, Tommy Ragen, Phoenix Schuman, Theodora Silverman, Gabriella Uhl and Aiden Niklas Villa. These kids are amazing!”

Chicago Sun Times – 11/03/2017

“Watching the show’s 12 kids, who perform with fabulous energy, and shape their distinctive characters with aplomb, is unquestionably immense fun, and can be alternately touching and very funny….No doubt about it, the kids are the reason to see this show…tank-size talent in pint-size bodies, including master drummer Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton; guitar player Theodora Silverman; bass player Phoenix Schuman (a mini David Bowie); star singer Gianna Harris; over-achiever (and ‘band manager’) Ava Briglia, and seven others….the kids here earn 10 gold stars on every count. Little rockets who can rock it.”

Stage and Cinema – 11/03/2017

“Most wondrous are the dynamically diverse kids in the cast…”

Playlist HQ – 11/02/2017

“Gianna Harris shows off her great vocals as Tomika. Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton is very impressive as Freddy on the drums”

Journal Inquirer – 10/26/2017

“The children, though, are superb, maintaining energy in their characters’ discovery of their identities throughout. It is of note that the kids who play instruments are actually playing them on stage and they are good. Real good. Phoenix Schuman as Zack on guitar, Theodora Silverman as Katie on bass, Theo Mitchell-Penner as Lawrence on keyboard, and Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton as Freddy on drums are all impressive. Gianna Harris’s vocals are stellar for a girl her age as Tomika, and Ava Briglia gives a sassy self-assuredness as the indomitable Summer.”

In the Spotlight – 10/26/2017

“But the real stars of the show are the kids who form the rock band under Mr. Schneebly’s (aka Dewey’s) tutelage. They play their own instruments, sing their hearts out, and dance up a storm. Special kudos to Gianna Harris in the role of Tomika, the shy girl, and her amazingly soulful rendition of ‘Amazing Grace,’ and Phoenix Schuman in the role of Zack—the meanest elementary-school aged guitar player ever!”

Naugatuck Patch – 10/26/2017

“The young performers had an appealing realness in their performances and I was relieved that vocally they sounded like kids that can sing. Ava Briglia, who was a Matilda on Broadway, was, well, quite strong as the bossy Summer who easily takes on the role of band manager. Olivia Bucknor was a strong backup singer, as was Chloe Anne Garcia as Marcy. Gianna Harris belted as Tomika, Carson Hodges was the lighting guy Mason, John Michael Pitera tried to spruce up the band as the stylist Billy, Tommy Ragen was James, Gabriella Uhl was Sophie…And those featured musician/actors who hear ‘You’re In the Band?’ Theo Mitchell-Penner covered the keyboards as Lawrence, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton was a fabulous drummer Freddy, Phoenix Schuman rocked his guitar as Zack, Theodora Silverman played the bass perfectly as Katie”

The Bristol Observer – 10/25/2017

“The kids who fill the stage are immensely—and frighteningly—talented. … The kids in the cast are key to the show’s charm. Theodora Silverman, Tommy Ragen, Chloe Anne Garcia, Carson Hodges, Gianna Harris, Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton, Phoenix Schuman, John Michael Pitera, Theo Mitchell-Penner, Ava Briglia, and Gabriella Uhl—are the heart of the show. All of them are talented and are immensely watchable. In particular, Briglia, as Summer, is great as the precocious bossy kid in the class—the one mature voice in a roomful of kids (and this includes Finn). She’s kind of the Jiminy Cricket of ‘The School of Rock’—the voice of reason. The musical skills of Moretti-Hamilton on drums, Silverman on bass, Schuman on guitar, and Mitchell-Penner on keyboards—also are jaw-dropping fabulous. They would put many adults to shame with their musical chops.”

Empty Nest – 10/21/2017

“The young cast in this show have a powerhouse of musical talent. I got goose bumps when Zack (Phoenix Schuman) played a riff on the guitar, Katie (Theodora Silverman) plucked the bass, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) played a run on the key boards and Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) pounded the drums”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 10/18/2017

“Yet it is still eye-popping…when the quartet of Phoenix Schuman (Zack), Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton (Freddy), Theodora Silverman (Katie) and Theo Mitchell-Penner (Lawrence) grab their instruments and rev up to rock hard. There are a dozen kids on the Benedum Center stage pulling off a screwball rock comedy…Among them is overachiever Summer (Ava Briglia, a star of ‘Matilda’ on Broadway) and wallflower Tomika (Gianna Harris), who each blossom unexpectedly when subjected to Dewey’s unwavering belief in them.”

Broadway World Columbus – 10/12/2017

“One of the funniest lines comes when Summer (Ava Briglia) warbles her way through Webber’s signature song ‘Memories’ from CATS, Dewey deadpans, ‘Please don’t ever sing that song again.’ The pint-sized performers in SCHOOL OF ROCK are not the latest incarnation of the Partridge Family or the Monkees. These kids not only play their own instruments, but the band of Zack (Phoenix Schuman) on guitar, Katie (Theodora Silverman) on bass, Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner) on keyboards and Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton) on drums can really jam. Add into the mix the vocals of Shonelle (Olivia Bucknor) and Marcy (Chloe Anne Garcia) as backup singers and the reluctant star Tomika (Gianna Harris) as a second vocalist and you have a powerhouse band….and Briglia delivers a stand out performance as the band’s manager.”

The Columbus Dispatch – 10/11/2017

“All 12 child actor-singers are wonderful. The kids really do play their instruments and play them well – such as Phoenix Schuman, a strutting stand-out on guitar as Zack. Gianna Harris reveals a lovely voice as shy Tomika, but Olivia Bucknor’s Shonelle and Chloe Anne Garcia’s Marcy also shine on backup vocals. Ava Briglia is amusing as by-the-rules Summer, while Theo Mitchell-Penner is endearing as ‘uncool’ Lawrence, who finds his inner Elton John on keyboards.”

Rochester City Newspaper – 10/05/2017

“The production wisely knows that the kids are the real stars, playing their own instruments, and completely stealing the show, much to the delight of Tuesday night’s audience. They’re all wonderful, though the standouts for me were Ava Briglia as the class resident type-A personality, Summer (who becomes the band’s manager, naturally), and Theodora Silverman as the too-cool-for-school bassist.”

Radio 95.1 Rochester – 10/04/2017

“Every performance rocked. But there were 2 in particular that I’d like to give a special shout out to….2) The Kids. All of them. There are about a dozen kids who play the class at The School of Rock and they all play vital roles. All of them fully committed to their roles whether it be security guard or lead electric guitar shredder. My favorite was Theodora Silverman, she plays the bass player, and makes the cutest and funniest rock star faces during each performance.”

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