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.
School of Rock currently plays at the Winter Garden Theatre.