BWW Interview: Bella Fraker of SCHOOL OF ROCK at Orpheum Theatre
This is a school I'd love to attend. SCHOOL OF ROCK, the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Julian Fellowes musical about a group of students becoming a rock band at the hands of a failed rock star posing as a substitute teacher, opens Tuesday at the Orpheum. It is a high octane, wildly entertaining production that features fantastically talented kids. It is reported that W. C. Fields once remarked that you should "never work with animals or children," because they will invariably steal the show. There are at my rough count 17 children in this show. Casting director Merri Sugarman considered an astronomical 22,000 children for the initial production of SCHOOL OF ROCK, which opened in December 2015 on Broadway. The kids are all 9 to 12 years old; most of whom are considered quadruple threats.
I sent a few questions to the national touring cast and asked for one of the kids to respond. Bella Fraker, who plays a variety of roles along with understudy for Summer, sent me her answers.
What's the most fun thing about being in this show?
The best thing about being in this show is being able to go out on stage and know there is someone in the audience that is being inspired. That feeling of performing in front of over 2,000 people is probably the best feeling in the world!
Have you ever had a teacher like Dewey?
I have not had any teacher that is exactly like Dewey, but I've had someone like it. I had this substitute teacher who told us to color and then he sat back at his desk and fell asleep for the rest of class. After that we all just laughed.
Would the idea of a band work in your school?
Absolutely, yes! My school has band and some of the kids are rockers. I am lucky to have such supportive teachers in my local school.
Is it important to have music in school? Why?
Definitely! No matter what you want to do in life, music can help. I feel music helps enlighten and exercise your brain.
What musical instrument do you play and how long have you played?
I play a few musical instruments. I play bass guitar, ukulele, piano, a little drums and guitar. I started out playing piano. I started playing all these instruments around the age of 9.
How do you keep up with your homework?
It's not that hard. We have three spectacular tutors who help us with school. Every day we will have school from three to five hours. Most of us have our own online school but, some people are homeschooled by their parents.
Do you have a parent or family member with you on the tour?
For the first year of tour, my wonderful mom traveled with me, but after that I started traveling with a guardian for 5 months. My mom has come back on tour now for the final stretch!
Do you feel like a Rock Star? Do your friends treat you like one?
I don't really feel like a rock star. I just love performing and making people happy and smile. My friends would never treat me like a star. They are waiting for me to come home so we can be silly together.
What do you think audiences will like about School of Rock?
I personally think they will fall in love with this show just like I did the first time I saw it! It is truly a show full of everything from a love story to a full-on rock concert. It is a show for everyone. Take your grandma AND your children!
Was auditioning scary for you?
When I first went in, I was scared but after a few times it was really fun. You must learn to be yourself and think of the casting directors as your friends.
Do you want to keep performing or is there something else you hope for in your future?
I want to keep performing and make it BIG! I also love school and especially math. Hopefully I can keep acting, dancing and singing while I earn a degree in forensics or law, maybe even medicine. I am 13 years old, so I have time.
Special Announcement from Omaha Performing Arts: Kids' Night on Broadway returns to Omaha in celebration of SCHOOL OF ROCK - The Musical at the Orpheum Theater Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Enjoy buy one, get one free tickets for one adult and one child up to 18-years-old while supplies last with code KNOB at checkout at TicketOmaha.com. The first 150 children will receive a show swag bag.
Tickets are available through TicketOmaha.com for all performances, April 23-28, 2019.
Photo Courtesy of SCHOOL OF ROCK.