Jack Kimmel, an 11 year old from West Orange and a music student at School of Rock Montclair, has been performing in theaters across the country as part of the touring cast of the Broadway musical “School of Rock”. Kimmel joined the show in February, and will complete his run at the end of August to return to Edison Middle School in West Orange as a sixth grader.
“We heard about the auditions for the national Broadway tour of ‘School of Rock’ in the fall of 2017, and after sending in a video of Jack playing and singing, we were told in January ’18 that he was selected to join the cast,” says Jack’s mom, Aleida Suarez Kimmel. “Since Jack can play guitar, drums, bass, and can also sing, he was offered the part of a swing, which is somebody who plays multiple roles in the show and is available when needed. Jack has filled five different roles since he began the tour, and he’s really enjoyed bringing his musical talents to audiences in Buffalo, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and many more.”
Jack began his musical journey as a student at the Montclair location of the School of Rock afterschool music program. He had been interested in learning how to play the electric guitar, and he began taking lessons at SoR Montclair in 2015. Jack studied with faculty member James Stivaly, who along with his work at the school is also a record label owner, recording studio owner, music producer, and founder of the indie metal band Organ Dealer.
Working with Stivaly, Jack’s playing and musical confidence ramped up quickly, and he participated in a number of the School’s guitar-oriented Performance Program shows -, including concerts that were tributes to the careers of ACDC, Ozzfest, Motorhead vs. Thin Lizzy, Alice in Chains, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington.
”The best part of being on the School of Rock’ national tour is traveling around the country, and the worst is leaving family and friends behind,” says Jack, whose favorite band is Megadeth. “Backstage at the shows in L.A., I met Jack Black; Brandon Urie of Panic! At The Disco; and the show’s composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber. And in Denver, I tried ramen for the first time, and I loved it! It’s been an amazing tour, but I’ll be ready to wrap things up in August, head back to school in September, and start up with my lessons again at School of Rock Montclair.”