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article imageJustin Collette opens up about 'School of Rock' on Broadway Special

By Markos Papadatos     Sep 17, 2018 in Entertainment
New York - Actor Justin Collette chatted with Digital Journal about his starring role as Dewey Finn in the hit Broadway musical "School of Rock" with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
On playing Dewey Finn in School of Rock, Collette said, "It's the monkey's paw of Broadway roles. It is everything I have ever wanted as a performer, it is challenging, exhilarating, more stage time than an actor could ever reasonably hope for. At the same time, it is by far the hardest thing I have ever done and can at times be incredibly frustrating. Nothing to do with the amazing, supportive, genius cast and crew that I work with, it has everything to do with the role itself."
Collette continued, "Dewey taxes me both physically and mentally to my actual limits. I was talking to another actor who had understudied the role and he articulated a thing I had been feeling which is: 'It's maddening going into work knowing you're not going to be your best.' It's a vocally demanding, comedic role, so there are lots of ways for you to personally fail and succeed. I am a bit of a perfectionist so if a scene or a song doesn't go well, this show really taught me to let it go and move on. The highs are very high, the lows are very low. I love it."
He shared that he will miss "everything" once the run is over. "The people in the building, the crowds, the brilliant talented adults and kids I get to work with. To get real sappy I'm sad the show won't be in this world on Broadway. It represents such a joy and optimism that I think we all need a dose of once in a while. I'll forever be proud of how many kids we have inspired to engage in music or art of any kind. This show shouldn't leave this world," he said.
On his plans for the future, Collette said, "I will sleep for a month after the show ends, followed by what I'm going to call my 'summer of naps.' I am very lucky to be working full-time on another project during this show, a cartoon called Cupcake and Dino: General Services which you can find on Netflix. So working on that, doing some writing, maybe touring some music and hopefully a return to Broadway at some point. Theatre is in my DNA. I'll be back," he said.
Each day, Collette is motivated by "change." "Life is amazing when you embrace that change happens. It also helps if you frame it by thinking something wonderful can happen to you just as easily as something terrible. Everyone, myself included, can spend a lot of time worrying about the terrible things that will or might happen but the truth is one morning I woke up and out of nowhere got an email asking if I would audition for School of Rock. Two weeks later I did, and five days after that, I was basically on my way to Broadway," he said.
Digital transformation of entertainment and theatre
On the impact of technology on the entertainment business and theatre, Collette said, "I feel like the magic of live theater kind of remains untouched by tech and that's what makes it more special now than ever. I may be wrong, but it seems to me like you still gotta convince people to show up and then they get to watch you do a thing in person. We all get to block out tech for a bit and build a little community experience together. On that note, if you’re in a theater or at a music concert please turn off your phone for the love of God. Please," he underscored.
Collette continued, "Nobody has ever enjoyed a 30-second shaky clip of a concert or a play ever. They, at best, smile and at worst, quietly judge you. Stop video recording."
As an actor, technology gives Collette "incredible access" to watch other masters of theatre perform and create. "There is no reason in this age of technology for you to not be inspired as an artist. If you are not, you are not looking hard enough. You are probably not looking at all," he said.
On his dream acting partners, Collete said, "My dream collaborators are people who are good at what they do and like to have a beer after work."
For his fans and followers, he concluded about School of Rock, "Thanks for embracing me. I am a relatively unknown actor and I know that. The first 30 minutes of every show I need to go out there and earn every crowd I perform in front of, but I feel like they always give me a fair shot. I perform this role in the long shadow of Eric Petersen, the longer, Tony-nominated, the shadow of Alex Brightman and Mount Olympian rock God shadow of Jack Black."
"While I commonly get compared to all three of them, it feels like people are giving my read of the role a real chance and I am very thankful for that. I think of meeting fans at the stage door often, those interactions are really meaningful to me and I appreciate people taking the time to wait and say a nice thing to me. Thank you twice," he added.
To learn more about the School of Rock on Broadway, check out its official website.
More about Justin Collette, school of rock, Broadway, Music, Andrew lloyd webber
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