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Interview: Reed Sigmund of SCHOOL OF ROCK at The Zephyr Theatre

Interview: Reed Sigmund of SCHOOL OF ROCK at The Zephyr Theatre

This production runs July 21st through July 28th

Reed Sigmund Andrew Lloyd Webber's "School of Rock" brings a full scale broadway-style musical to the banks of the St. Croix River! A star-studded cast rocks out under the summer stars. Sparkling cocktails, dramatic lights, and fabulous music.

Based on the hit movie, this musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. He then turns a class of straight-A pupils into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. But can he get them to the Battle of the Bands without their parents and the school's headmistress finding out?

We chat with Reed Sigmund who plays Dewey Finn in the production!

How does it feel to have live audiences and theatres back?

It feels like the first sloppy sip of some unhealthily strong coffee in the morning! A renewal of energy. A burst of adrenaline. And deep internal feelings of warmth and wildly comforting satisfaction.

What inspired you to pursue a career in performing?

I pursued this career, because I love stories. I love reading them, listening to them, telling them, singing them, and dancing them. I love exploring their meaning and discovering how one story can have a specific and unique meaning to each person who truly allows themselves to absorb it. Stories allow us to shift perspectives and see ourselves and our world from a fresh set of eyes. I believe stories can change the world for the better. Also, I was too loud for any other extracurricular activities, so my mom always put me in theatre classes, and I fell in love with them.

How does this role compare to other roles you've played?

It's shockingly different! Throughout my career, I've played dozens of animals and lots of other kinds of grotesque creatures. I've also typically played characters who's personalities stray far from my own. With Dewey, however, I feel like I'm playing myself. Which is somehow terrifying. Because if an audience hates my portrayal of the character, in essence, they're hating me as a human. It makes me feel extra vulnerable.

What was your process for developing your character?

With this character, it's all about tapping into my own memory bank, because I feel Dewey and I share an abundance of experiences and feelings. So I've tried to emotionally connect with, and remember, my own journey in this world. And after that, it's about letting go. It's about truly giving control over to my impulses, and not planning. This is a character who deeply cherishes freedom in every aspect of life. To bring him to life, I have to let my mind embrace joyful chaos.

Do you have a favorite song in the show?

Definitely "Teacher's Pet." It's how I felt about every minute of my school days.

Do you have a favorite moment in the show?

I do! There's a scene where Dewey and Tomika have a conversation regarding her involvement with the band, and it makes me feel like adult me is talking to young me. It's a surreal moment. Plus, I'm acting alongside Mari Peterson-Hilleque as Tomika, and she is just phenomenal. Her performance is full of truth and connection, and moments like this are why I love being an actor.

Did you face any challenges with your character or the production?

The biggest challenge with this role is Jack Black. His performance in the movie is absolutely masterful. It's iconic. It's wild, honest, vulnerable, ferocious, and hilarious. And it can't be duplicated or imitated. All I can do is approach the role with the same degree of fearlessness, and hope to capture an ounce of the magic he poured over the role.

Reed Sigmund, Sam Mandell, Kate Young, Mari Peterson-Hilleque, Anika Sundberg, Mabel Weismann, Huxley Westemeier, Malia Berg, Peter Hoffman, Clay Bartelt

How was working with the cast and the creative team?

This team has been bringing me endless moments of pure joy. It's full of kindness, support, encouragement, inspiration, and talent. And the young actors blow my mind every day. Wait until you see these kids! They make me nauseous with jealousy, because I know I'll never be as good as them.

What do you hope the audience takes away from seeing this production?

I hope audiences leave this show laughing, while simultaneously feeling motivated. Motivated to use their voices to stand up for what is right. Motivated and inspired to be themselves, and to embrace others with the courage to be themselves. I hope it inspires people to challenge laws and rules which suppress creativity and individuality. And I hope everyone leaves the show with their windows rolled down, blasting rock from their stereos at an illegal volume.

What are your favorite local spots?

I love any local spot that plays with sugar! I'm frequently found loitering around Leo's, Tremblay's, and Mon Petite Chéri.

Thank you Reed for your time!

Fore more show and ticket information, please click the ticket link button

Photo Glen Stubbe

From This Author - Jared Fessler

Jared [He/Him] is originally from Iowa and resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up doing theatre and studied music, dance, and theatre with additional training in BFA musical theatre.

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