Fifteen years since its release, School of Rock still holds up as a classic rock comedy for the ages. From the stage-diving antics to long insane solos by lead guitarist, Dewey, it is a real-life alternate persona of Tenacious D’s Jack Black. The talented comedian and musician brought the joys of Rock and Roll on screen and introduced rock music and history to a new generation. Whenever I hear Immigrant Song, I can’t help but make the face and the horns.
The creators of the movie scoured the entire country looking for talented young musicians to play authentic roles, and they succeeded in doing just that. Let’s find out, what those incredible actors are doing, a decade and a half later.
1. Miranda Cosgrove as Summer
Summer, a model student and the class representative who later becomes the band manager, was played by 10 years old Miranda Cosgrove. The onscreen chemistry between Jack and Miranda led to some interesting moments in the movie. Her role in the movie was followed by a number of small roles in TV series, before getting the lead role in a Nickelodeon teen series, Drake and Josh.
In 2007, she played the lead in another Nickelodeon teen sitcom, iCarly. In 2012, she was listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest paid child actress. Unlike her character in School of Rock, Miranda has a natural singing voice and debuted with a soundtrack album of iCarly, which comprises of four songs. To date, she has released two EPs and a studio album. It looks like our favorite Summer did go on to have a fantastic career both as an actress and a singer.
2. Joey Gaydos Jr. as Zach Mooney
The shy but talented lead guitarist of the band, Zach Attack, was played by Joey Gaydos Jr. He did not pursue a career in acting but instead opted to continue with a music career in real life too. Joey released a self-titled album by the age of 13 and is continuing to make music both for himself and with various bands, most notably with the rock group, Stereo Jane. He has also had a few run-ins with the law, notably a DUI arrest in 2009.
3. Robert Tsai as Lawrence aka Mr. Cool
The young Robert Tsai played the Asian wonderkid who is a maestro on the piano. Jack Black’s character Dewey later introduces the shy kid to Rock and Roll and electronic keyboards. With his punk rock hair, he gives a stellar performance at the battle of the bands. Robert is a classically trained pianist in real life, who studied classical music at Dartmouth College and spent a few years as a concert pianist.
4. Kevin Alexander Clark as Freddy “Spazzy McGee” Jones
The rebellious young student Freddy, who becomes the drummer of the band, is most pleased by Dewey’s arrival in the school as he asks, “Are we just going to goof off the whole time?” Kevin A. Clark, who played the role of Freddy, wasn’t interested in acting. So, he decided to be a musician putting his rock credentials to use. Kevin was back on drums for the tenth-anniversary reunion of School of Rock in 2013. He is now associated with a Chicago-based band, Robbie Gold and performs around the Chicago circuit.
5. Rebecca Julia Brown as Katie
The cello player-turned-bassist Katie was brought to life by the young Rebecca Brown. She actually started playing guitar from an early age of 4 and still rocks out on bass guitar for Chicago alternative band, Sweet Revenge. She graduated from the University of Illinois and performed in local theatres. Katie is her only on-screen role. She is active on social media and frequently uploads her cover and original performances on her YouTube channel.
6. Brian Falduto as Billy
The young designer and stylist of the band, Billy aka Fancy Pants, played by Brian had some seriously funny lines in the movie. Not unlike a young Edna from The Incredibles universe! The young actor went on to study theater and earned a degree in Arts Administration from Wagner College. Apart from performing in local stage productions in New York, he records music and has worked in radio as well. School of Rock remains his only screen role. Now, an I.C.F. certified Life Coach, Falduto also actively advocates for the LGBTQ community.
7. Angelo Massagli as Frankie
Every good band needs capable roadies, and in the School of Rock universe, Frankie fills that role perfectly. Angelo, who plays the role of Frankie, also did a stint in the gangster series, The Sopranos. Other than that, he hasn’t appeared in acting roles and is actively pursuing a career in Entertainment Law.
8. Will the real Ned Schneebly please stand up?
The real Ned Schneebly, a mild-mannered former rocker now working as a substitute teacher is Dewey’s only friend in the movie. Mike White, who portrays him, is actually the writer of the movie and has written many other critically acclaimed series and movies such as Freaks and Geeks, Nacho Libre and the HBO series, Enlightened. He also wrote and directed the 2017 comedy-drama, Brad’s Status, with an impressive cast, which included the likes of Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Michael Sheen and Jenna Fischer.
9. Sarah Silverman as Laura
Sarah Silverman ingeniously portrays the role of Ned Schneebly's manipulative girlfriend, Laura. Following the movie, the stand-up comedian has had a tumultuous career in the spotlight, and her brand of comedy is controversial, to say the least. She was the co-creator, writer, executive producer and actor of Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program. She appeared regularly in the HBO series, Masters of Sex, and in 2017, she released her own Netflix stand-up special, A Speck of Dust.
10. Joan Cusack as Principal Mullins
The stern headmistress of the uptown prep school with a rebellious and wild side, Principal Mullins played by the talented Joan Cusack is one of the most memorable adult characters in the movie. Her strict nature perfectly contrasts the slacking rocker Dewey, and we get a fun dynamic relationship between them. Joan is a five-time Emmy nominated actress, with her first Emmy win coming in 2015 for her role in the series, Shameless. She is also the voice of Jessie in the Toy Story universe. Toy Story 4 is coming out in 2019.
11. Jack Black as Dewey Finn
One of the most memorable characters ever played by Jack Black has to be Dewey, the aging rock and roller teaching a group of upscale school kids, rock music and its history. “11 o'clock Rock Appreciation!” The superstar comic has had a long and successful career in Hollywood. After School of Rock, he kept his comedic avatar alive in several comedy classics such as Nacho Libre, Tropic Thunder and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Furthermore, he was the voice of the titular Dragon Warrior Poe, in the Kung Fu Panda trilogy. This prolific actor is also the songwriter and lead singer of the band, Tenacious D, which he formed with Kyle Gass in 1994. The band won a Grammy Award for Best Heavy Metal Performance at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in 2015 for the cover of The Last in Line. They released their fourth album, Post-Apocalypto, on November 2, 2018. School of Rock was the highest-grossing music-themed comedy and was adapted as a Broadway musical. It even inspired a TV series on Nickelodeon, which completed its 3rd season on April 8, 2018.
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