A Broadway First in Austin: School of Rock Brings a New Class of Rockers to the Stage

by Britni Rachal on February 5, 2018 in Entertainment, Theatre, Living Texas, Austin,

Fists will be pumping mid-February with a first-ever for Bass Concert Hall.

Including 14 new jolting songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber, plus all the original songs from the hit 2003 movie, The School of Rock is set to bring a new energy to the Austin stage. With something to offer for all age groups, the Broadway musical follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teach who turns a class of straight-A students into guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.

Already a New York Times Critics’ Pick, Entertainment Weekly calls the musical, “An inspiring jolt of energy, joy and mad skillz!”

The cast of the School of Rock Tour. Photo Matthew Murphy

We spoke with actress Gianna Harris who plays Tomika and is ecstatic to be joining the new class of rockers on the first-ever School of Rock national tour.

Tomika’s new in school and struggles to make friends among the many overachieving students in The School of Rock. Tell us about playing Tomika and what you think the audience will enjoy most about her.

I like playing the part of Tomika because she lets me express different emotions throughout the show. She’s very shy and withdrawn but then she discovers her voice. I think the audience will enjoy how she finally stands up to her Dad, and the growth she goes through on stage.

Theodora Silverman and Rob Colletti in the School of Rock Tour. Photo Matthew Murphy

What makes The School of Rock different from other Broadway plays the audience might have the opportunity to see?

I made my Broadway debut with School of Rock and then went on to tour but I have seen lots of Broadway shows. What I love about School of Rock versus other shows is School of Rock has a ton of kids in it and it is for kids; a lot of other shows are more for adults. It’s different because it’s really energetic and is a very happy feel-good show.

Do you have a favorite song or scene in the play?

My favorite scene is the first If Only You Would Listen because I get to interact with my Dad and this is when I start telling Tomika’s story to the audience. My favorite song is in the second act and is the If Only You Would Listen Reprise because I really get to connect with Dewey and show him how he’s helped me and the other students.

Theo Mitchell-Penner in the School of Rock Tour. Photo Matthew Murphy

Can you tell us about the costumes and props for The School of Rock?

The costumes for the kids are school uniforms and they don’t really change until the end of the second act. The props are really fun; whenever we are done using them onstage we have to return them to the prop box so they can be returned and put in place for the next show. It’s very important that all props get returned for the next show!

And lastly, why should our Texas Lifestyle Magazine readers come and see you in The School of Rock at Bass Concert Hall?

I know they will love it because it’s a show for all ages! It’s really fun and energetic, the kids love seeing other kids stand up to their parents. The adults love the drama and the rock-n-roll!


School of Rock runs February 13 – 18 at Bass Concert Hall. Tickets start at $30 and are available online, at the Bass Concert Hall ticket office or by phone at 512.477.6060.