Jimi Hendrix is alive and well — and his soul lives in the pint-sized body of 12-year-old guitarist, Brandon Niederauer, star of the Broadway musical School of Rock. This past Wednesday, Niederauer took the stage during curtain call to play a face-melting, electrifying version of the “Star Spangled Banner,” in celebration of the 47th anniversary of Hendrix’s Woodstock performance.
A true testament to the importance of the arts in schools.
Nominated for four Tony Awards, School of Rock follows Dewey Finn (played by Alex Brightman) looking for work after being thrown out of his band. He poses as his roommate for a substitute teaching job at an elite private school, and soon after learning of his students’ musical talents, forms a rock band in an attempt to win Battle of the Bands.
Niederauer plays child prodigy Zack, who takes the role of guitar player in the band made up of fifth-graders. He’s currently one of 17 kids rocking out every night in the Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation of the 2003 film, which starred Jack Black.
Under the stage-name “Taz,” Niederauer has performed with Scorpions, Stevie Nicks, Jon Batiste, and The Allman Brothers Band. He’s also appeared on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” “The View,” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
Jimi Hendrix originally debuted his iconic version of the national anthem at Woodstock on August 18, 1969.
If you feel like comparing, check out Hendrix’s performance below.
Un dios de la guitarra
School of Rock currently plays at the Winter Garden Theatre.
Broadway said “What Blackout?!” and Took Their Talents Outside
The power went clean out in most of Manhattan on Saturday night. The Broadway League released a statement saying most of the shows were canceled and that the power should be restored before the following Sunday matinee. That did end up happening but right after the blackout happened casts of Broadway shows took to the streets to offer up their voices in song to the delight of the many people in the streets who were evacuated from the Broadway houses and neighboring establishments.
Take a look at what shows popped off in the streets of midtown Manhattan!
- Of course, Tony Award Winner André De Shields snaps off with the cast of Hadestown at the Walter Kerr Theatre
— Kimberly Marable (@misskimizzo) July 14, 2019
— Joe Harrell (@JoeHarrellNYC) July 14, 2019
2. The cast of Aint Too Proud singing Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” to someone in the crowd from their dressing room windows at the Imperial Theatre. The tweet with the video it’s the cast of Hamilton but twitter did its thing and they quickly corrected them. It was an honest mistake, Hamilton is right next door.)
— Antony (@lemonfuzz) July 14, 2019
3. The cast of Come From Away:
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) July 14, 2019
— Billy Recce (@BillyRecce) July 13, 2019
4. The cast of Waitress:
— Dave Quinn (@NineDaves) July 14, 2019
5. The cast of Frozen:
— Robert Creighton (@RCreightonNYC) July 14, 2019
— Patti Murin (@PattiMurin) July 14, 2019
West Side Story’s Cool Reimagined by Los York Studios And It’s Pretty… Cool!
As described in their mission statement, Los York is “an integrated production company that executes live action, design, and experimental projects.” An older project of the company resurfaced recently, a reimagined rendition of West Side Story‘s “Cool” scene, is now circulating throughout the internet. The Emmy Award winner and director of the video, Seth Epstein has brilliantly captured the story of rivalry within two different ethnic groups, but this time with more melanin!
The electrifying footwork, where pirouettes are replaced with pop locking and break dancing in the place of battements, provides hope for bridging racial gaps and relieving tensions. This style is more interpretive, with urban based movements that add an extra layer to some of the barriers printed in the original 1957 production.One thing that I appreciate about the classic musical West Side Story is its transcendent nature and ability to comfortably conform to whatever generation of interest.
Above all else, West Side Story is a love story, a modernized interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The timelessness in the modernized story–tension between two lovers of opposite gangs–reveals past and present issues found in American society however old and reoccurring they may be. The Los York video demonstrates that flexibility and once again creates an even bigger space for a fabulous classic.
Watch for yourself!