‘School of Rock’ brings energy, action and a live band to the Downriver Actors Guild

Photo courtesy of the Downriver Actors Guild The Downriver Actors Guild presents “School of Rock” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 and 25 and March 3 and 4, and 3 p.m. Feb. 26 and March 5, with Youssef Fadel (left) of Brownstown Township as Zack; Khalia Mims of Detroit as Freddie; Madison Gantzak of Dearborn Heights as Tomika; Emily Braun of Allen Park as Rosealie Mullins; Brenden Smith of Westland as Dewey Finn; Jamie Paschke of Dearborn Heights as Summer Hathaway; Brendan Siddall of Allen Park as Lawrence; and Isabella Owens of Riverview as Katie. For tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

Photo courtesy of the Downriver Actors Guild
The Downriver Actors Guild presents “School of Rock” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 and 25 and March 3 and 4, and 3 p.m. Feb. 26 and March 5, with Youssef Fadel (left) of Brownstown Township as Zack; Khalia Mims of Detroit as Freddie; Madison Gantzak of Dearborn Heights as Tomika; Emily Braun of Allen Park as Rosealie Mullins; Brenden Smith of Westland as Dewey Finn; Jamie Paschke of Dearborn Heights as Summer Hathaway; Brendan Siddall of Allen Park as Lawrence; and Isabella Owens of Riverview as Katie. For tickets or more information, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.

“School of Rock” brings energy, action and a live band to the stage of the Downriver Actors Guild at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24 and 25, and March 3 and 4, and 3 p.m. Feb. 26 and March 5 at the Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle, Wyandotte.

Based on the hit movie, the stage musical follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star who tries to earn extra income by posing as a teacher at a prestigious prep school, where he turns his toe-the-line students into free-spirited rock band members, and tries to find a way to help them secretly compete in a battle of the bands.

Director Michele Devins said she is excited to bring “School of Rock” to the stage. She said since the musical is currently running on Broadway, the local cast members must be 18 and younger.

Devins said the cast members in the storyline’s band have extra rehearsals, and have worked with their school music teachers and other adult mentors to prepare for the show’s live band performances.

Front_RowKhalia Mims of Detroit, who plays Freddie, said the show has improved her drumming skills.

“My character finds himself through playing, and it fuels him to do what he does,” she said. “I like my character’s slight cockiness.”

Youssef Fadel of Brownstown Township, who plays Zack, said this is the first time he has had a chance to play the guitar on stage.

“He gets to express himself through his music,” he said. “I love the rock genre.”

Brenden Smith of Westland, who is reprising the role of Dewey Finn, which he performed at Livonia Churchill High School, said he loves the role and playing the guitar on stage.

“He’s got such a great personality, (is) really animated, and hilarious to watch,” he said. “It fills the audience with lots of energy.”

Jamie Paschke of Dearborn Heights, who plays Summer, said she fell in love with the plot and characters the first time she saw the movie, and has bonded with the cast bringing the story to the stage.

“Everyone has worked so hard to put everything together,” she said.

She said her character is a take-charge, outspoken type.

“She’s very bold, intelligent and opinionated,” Pashke said. “She is very fun to play on stage because I get to be very sassy, so there is quite a bit of eye rolls!”

Isabella Owens of Riverview, who plays Katie, the bass player, said she also fell in love with the show the first time she saw the movie, and recently saw the show on Broadway.

“I enjoy every moment of rehearsal and band practice,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for us to play music live on stage.”

Madison Ganzak of Dearborn Heights, who plays Tomika, said the musical gives her a chance to work with a talented cast in a unique show, and to play a character to which she relates.

“We both have a hidden talent and struggle with sharing it,” she said. “I hope people leave the theater believing that you should never give up on your dreams.”

Others in the cast include Allen Park residents Emily Braun as Rosealie Mullins, Kayla Chavez as Patty DiMarco, Jayden Knight as a parent and teacher, Joe Oliveri as Ned Schneebly, Courtney Perttula as Marcy and a back-up vocalist, and Brendan Siddall as Lawrence and a piano keyboardist.

Nate Hermen of Dearborn plays Mr. Gabe Brown, Lucee Wilson of Dearborn Heights plays Billy Sanford and a stylist, and Jessalyn Sturm of Taylor choreographed the show and is in the ensemble.

Lincoln Park cast members include Phoebe Sequin-Davenport as a parent and teacher, Grace Ray as Mrs. Hathaway, and Lily Steele as Mason Ward and on the lighting crew.

Riverview cast members include Nora Kalvans as Sophie and a roadie and Molly Pelkey as Shonell and a back-up vocalist.

Southgate cast members include Erin Hansen as Madison and a roadie, Maggie Hansen as a parent and a teacher, Kolby Kukla as Mr. Spencer, Cait LeBlanc as Mrs. Sheinkopf and Ethan Thomas as Mr. Mooneyham.

Trenton cast members include Anna and Emily Bruce as parents and teachers, and Duncan McCardell in the ensemble, with Wyandotte residents Mia Martin as Mya and a back-up vocalist, and Austin Charlebois in the ensemble.

Brownstown Township cast members include Nathan Blaszczak as James and a security guard and Alexandria Reeves as a parent and teacher, and Cole Haas of Inkster as a parent and teacher.

Tickets are $16, with a $3 discount for students and seniors. For more information, or to order, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.