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I Wanna Rock!
Quadruple-threat Theo Silverman rocks as singer, dancer, actor and musician in School of Rock.
At 11 years old, Theodora “Theo” Silverman is enjoying a dream-come-true while working toward realizing many more.
Taking on the role of bass- and cello-playing student Katie as she tours with School of Rock — The Musical, Theo hopes later years will bring her to the same play and place her in the role of the adult Ms. Mullins, the fictional school principal and romantic interest of a rebel teacher, the lead character in the production.
“I am in awe of Lexie Dorset Sharp, who brilliantly plays the role on our tour,” says Theo, who will appear April 10-22 at the Fisher Theatre.
Thinking ahead to a mature role is not new for the New York native and resident. While playing the daughter Ivanka, in the Once national tour, she decided she eventually would like to win the part of Girl, believing it is one of the most beautiful and magical roles for a woman.
Not neglecting history, she also would like to be one of the Schuyler Sisters in Hamilton.
School of Rock — The Musical is based on the 2003 hit film starring Jack Black and features music from the movie as well as an original score added by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes (creator of Downton Abbey). Those familiar with the film will recognize songs like “Teacher’s Pet” and be introduced to new numbers that include “If Only You Would Listen” and “You’re in the Band.”
The storyline follows Dewey Finn, a failed rock star who decides to make some money posing as a substitute at a prestigious prep school. He turns a class of straight-A, serious students into guitar- and bass-playing rockers performing in their own band and competing with other bands.
In the mix, Dewey falls for the school’s academic-minded principal and helps her discover her own childlike side.
“I play the bass player in the band,” Theo says. “Katie was my dream role in School of Rock. She is very chill, just like me. Katie takes it all in before turning it all out and letting herself go with Dewey and the band. We both love being musicians.
“School of Rock inspires kids and adults to follow their dreams and go for it. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from being who you are. Show the world what’s inside of you and who you truly are.
“School of Rock’s positive message and fabulous music get the audience out of their seats and on their feet cheering!”
Theo says her parents believe she was born to be a performer and supported her interests with vocal, acting, dance and musical training since she was 6 years old. At 7, she appeared off-Broadway in Annie Jr.
“My mom and dad support me on every level — organizing my lessons and training, finding me the best manager and agent and traveling with me on tour for School of Rock this year and Once, the musical, two years ago,” she explains.
“Most important, my parents always check in with me and make sure that being an actor is what I want to do. They create a good balance of work, school and fun.”
“Katie was my dream role in School of Rock. She is very chill, just like me. She takes it all in before turning it all out and letting herself go with Dewey and the band. And we both love being musicians.”
— Theo Silverman
While on tour, Theo follows a strict schedule and finds her tutors very helpful. Sometimes, she works on extra lessons with her dad or reads for her own enjoyment.
“I have 15 best friends on tour, and we try and have meals in groups, go swimming in the hotels and make slime and slime videos when we get home from the theater,” she says. “I FaceTime with my best friends from home, and although I miss them, we stay connected as much as possible.”
Away from the stage, Theo likes to spend time with her very best friend, Piper, and play guitar, experiment with trapeze, rock climb, create makeup and hair videos and do anything with her dog, Jojo.
Her Jewish observances also remain important.
“My family celebrates all of the Jewish holidays together, and I will have a bat mitzvah in January 2020,” she says. “My Papa Howard [paternal grandfather Howard Silverman] teaches me about Judaism and our history and the importance of family.
“My favorite holiday is Passover — I’m usually first to find the afikomen.”
As Theo grows personally and professionally, she finds that going on tour has been educational in many ways.
“School of Rock on tour has been the greatest experience of my life,” says Theo, who has counted nearly 200 performances in this show. “We are 16 kids and families, cast mates and classmates, with an entire company of grownup actors, management and crew that has become family.
“We have a tight schedule filled with roles, rules and responsibilities. Our job has two parts — studying at school and performing eight shows a week. As our touring schedule is so busy, I have learned to listen and take direction well, ask questions if I need help and manage my time productively.”
School of Rock — The Musical runs April 10-22 at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit. Tickets start at $39.
(313) 872-1000; broadwayindetroit.com.