5 Questions from Over the Pond: School of Rock's Justin Collette & Craig Gallivan

New York's Justin Collette takes on London's Craig Gallivan in "The Battle of the Dewey Finns"...

Justin Collette & Craig Gallivan in School of Rock

When School of Rock - The Musical officially opened on Broadway in December 2015 at the Winter Garden Theatre, it took many by surprise and became an instant hit - both critically and commercially. It was (astonishingly) composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's first original hit on the Great White Way since 1994's Sunset Boulevard and went on to claim four Tony Award nominations, including "Best Musical". It was also a rare pleasure to have one of the Lord's shows premiere in New York, as opposed to the West End. This time, the Brits had to wait for a London transfer (or buy a plane ticket) to see the latest in the Lloyd Webber canon, but that wait would turn out to be a little less than a year, as the West End premiere of School of Rock would swiftly open at the New London Theatre (now the Gillian Lynne Theatre, in honor of the late, great Cats and The Phantom of the Opera choreographer) in November 2016. The production enjoyed equivalent success in the UK, going on to earn two Olivier Award nominations, including "Best New Musical," and receiving the Olivier Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Music" in recognition of the three children's bands who play music live at every performance.

Of course, the magnificent youngsters of School of Rock are the heart and soul of the musical and where they manage to find so many talented kids, who can play an array of instruments live in front of thousands of theatregoers each week, I'll never know. But the backbone of School of Rock has to be our loveable but flawed protagonist Dewey Finn. So much rests on the shoulders of a great performer to carry this show, particular in terms of the energy levels, pacing and connection with the young performers. Luckily there have been a string of more than capable Deweys in the production's history, beginning with Tony Award nominee Alex Brightman in New York and Olivier Award nominee David Fynn in London.


Justin Collette with Jonathan Gould in School of Rock – The Musical on Broadway
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Now that the Broadway production is coming to a close at the Winter Garden on January 20, 2019 (after a celebrated run of over three years on the Great White Way!), we thought we'd give the current Deweys - New York's Justin Collette and London's Craig Gallivan - the chance to take part in our 5 Questions from Over the Pond feature and "Stick It to the Man"  across the Atlantic!

Check out Justin's answers to 5 questions from West End star Craig:

  1. Craig: Which part of the show do you most feel like you’re the luckiest man alive?

Justin: You would have to be made of some kind of cold, cold stone to feel nothing when the kids sing the "If Only You Would Listen" reprise near the end of act two. Cold, COLD stone.

  1. Craig: What’s your pre-show routine/ritual?

Justin: I drink a lot of fluids, take a very long shower, and sing a lot of Hootie and the Blowfish.

  1. Criag: What’s your guilty music pleasure?

Justin: I have no shame when it comes to my musical enjoyment. Do I suspect I would be ridiculed MOST for my love of 90s pop? Yes. If I specifically named the band AQUA, would I expect snickers, eye rolls? You bet. Will I answer to the name Dr. Jones? Give it a shot.

  1. Craig: On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you ache the morning after a show? And how do you combat it?

Justin: My body isn't usually in too much pain from the show. It's really my voice that wears as the week goes on. I drink a lot of ginger tea, inhale cold and hot steam, warm up a couple times a day and play a lot of Star Wars Battlefront.

  1. Craig: How American are you?

Justin: I am a screaming on fire eagle cruising on a Harley down highway 71 on my way to tailgate an apple pie eating contest after church on a Sunday morning. Also… I'm from Toronto.

 Check out Justin Collette's 5 questions for Craig Gallivan on our London Theatre Guide sister site!


Craig Gallivan in School of Rock – The Musical in London's West End
(Photo by Tristram Kenton)

School of Rock - The Musical Tickets are available now for performances through to January 20, 2019.