When Brandon Niederauer was 8, he asked his father for guitar lessons—but with a catch. “He said, ‘Yeah, but you gotta find me a teacher like that guy in the movie, who’s cool,” Gary Niederauer recalls. Brandon had just finished watching School of Rock—the 2003 Richard Linklater movie that stars Jack Black as a con-substitute teacher who forms a rock band with his prep school wards—for about the 20th time, his father says.
Brandon, 12, has been playing the guitar for four years, and his life is starting to resemble the movie’s plot more than he could have dreamed. On December 6, he made his Broadway debut as Zach in the Andrew Lloyd Webber-scored, Julian Fellowes-penned School of Rock musical. The show has been met with resoundingly positive reviews, and USA Today commented on Niederauer’s “irresistible gusto” in the role.
This film follows Neiderauer as he pushes towards opening day of the musical, starting with an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, sitting in with Jon Batiste and his band.