School of Rock

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Bios | Schedule | Reviews

Olivia Bucknor

OLIVIA BUCKNOR (Shonelle, u/s Tomika) Thrilled to debut the role of Shonelle in the SOR tour. Featured in the Oscar-nominated cartoon “My Life as a Zucchini” as Beatrice. She played young Ranita in the biopic “Roxanne, Roxanne.” Featured in Pharrell Williams’ book “Happy”. Thanks to her parents for their support, L’il Angels and Innovative Artists.

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Grier Burke

grier-burke GRIER BURKE (Tomika) Grier is excited to join this cast and be in the band! She most recently appeared in the Broadway National Tour of Disney’s The Lion King as Young Nala. Regional Theater credits: Elf the Musical, A Christmas Story, Annie Warbucks, and Billy Elliot. Many thanks to Gray Talent Group. www.grierburke.com. @iamgrierburke.
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Rayna Farr

rayna-farr-2017 RAYNA FARR (Swing, u/s Summer, Marcy, Katie, Shonelle) Honored to join the SOR National Tour! Tour: “Grinch”, “A Christmas Carol”. Thanks to Nancy Carson, Tara Rubin Casting, SOR Creative, Mom, Dad, Kaiya and family for their love and support!

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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.

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Carson Hodges

carson-hodges CARSON HODGES (Mason, u/s Lawrence) Carson is 9 years old and thrilled to make his Broadway debut on the School of Rock Tour. Gratitude and thanks to his entire family, Malko Dance Studios, Skips Music, Bach to Rock Music Academy, and his agent Nancy Carson for their love, support and mentoring.

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Jack Suarez Kimmel

jack-suarez-kimmel JACK SUAREZ KIMMEL (Swing, u/s Zack, u/s Freddy) Jack is thrilled to debut on the SOR Tour! NJ metal-head and multi-instrumentalist, shredding the guitar since age 8. Thanks Mom, Dad, Liana, Bebe and the entire family. Instagram: jkimmel.music

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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! www.alyssamarvin.com; Insta: @alyssaemmarvin
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Theo Mitchell-Penner

theo-mitchell-palmer THEO MITCHELL-PENNER (Lawrence) Playing the piano since age 5, Theo is over the moon to be making his touring debut in SOR! Thanks to Nancy Carson, his teachers, and the Walnut. Love to his family and friends. Special thanks to Merri Sugarman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the cast and creative team.
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Vincent Molden

vincent-molden VINCENT MOLDEN (Zack) School of Rock is Vincent’s first theatrical appearance. A sixth-grader in public school in Chicago, Vincent started playing the guitar at age six. He thanks his family, Little Kids Rock, the Chicago Public Schools All-City Performing Arts program, and whoever created Rocksmith.

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Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton

gilberto-moretti-hamilton GILBERTO MORETTI-HAMILTON (Freddy) Gilberto is humbled by the opportunity to tour with SOR. This Native New Yorker comes from a musical family with roots in the Caribbean and Italy. He was honored as “Musician of the Year 2017” by the Boys Club of NYC. This multi-instrumentalist also plays piano, bass, xylophone and percussion. Insta: gilbertomorettihamilton

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Iara Nemirovsky

headshot_placement IARA NEMIROVSKY (Summer) Iara is thrilled to make her national tour debut as Summer. A proud member of the country’s youngest Shakespeare troupe (Los Angeles Drama Club), she wishes to thank DDO, Tara Rubin Casting, team SOR. To my family, friends, teachers, Mama, Papa and Snow – you rock! @5678iara

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Theodora Silverman

theodora-silverman-2017 THEODORA SILVERMAN (Katie) “Theo” is thrilled to be playing her dream role of Katie in the National Tour of School of Rock! Recent credits: Once National Tour, ABC’s “What Would You Do?” Thanks & love to Mom, Dad, Hazie, Lisa, Barry, Tara Rubin Casting, Ellyn, Jeff, Dan & Piper! @theosilverman

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Jesse Sparks

headshot_placement JESSE SPARKS (Swing, u/s Zack) Born a NYC Rocker, Jesse grew up attending concerts and listening to all genres of music. Jesse started lessons at age 6, quickly finding his passion for electric guitar!

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Cameron Trueblood

headshot_placement CAMERON TRUEBLOOD (James, u/s 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.

Gabriella Uhl

GABRIELLA UHL (Sophie, 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.

Huxley Westemeier

headshot_placement HUXLEY WESTEMEIER (Billy, u/s Lawrence) This Minneapolis native is thrilled to play Billy in the National Tour of School of Rock! Recent credits: The Guthrie Theater’s Watch on the Rhine, The Ordway’s Jesus Christ Superstar. Special thanks to Tara Rubin Casting, Jeremy, Maggie and Broadway Playground. Love to family, Mom, Dad and Rufus.

 

Review Quotes

The Healthy Hen – Date Unknown

“There is just something awe-inspiring about seeing these incredibly skilled and talented kids performing live right in front of you. It was magnificent. The kids rightly stole the show. They each played all of their own music and absolutely rocked it. They were so gifted.”

Philly.com – 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.”

KSTP.com – 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”

TwinCities.com – 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”

Cincinnati.com – 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.”

Tour Schedule


Event Information:

  • Tue
    19
    Jun
    2018
    Sun
    24
    Jun
    2018

    Tempe, AZ

    ASU Gammage

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