CHICAGO (CBS) — Actor, singer and musician Rob Colletti says he stumbled into theater by accident.
“The end of my freshman year of high school, one of my friends was walking by my locker on his way to audition to this student-directed spring production, and he was nervous and asked me to go along. I said ‘fine’ and ended up getting a lead role,” he laughed. “I really got bit by the bug after that.”
Colletti grew up in Glen Ellyn, is a 2004 graduate of St. Francis Prep in Wheaton, a graduate of Columbia College and a Second City alum. Over the last 13 years, he’s been cast in Columbia’s production of “Grease” and landed a role of a lifetime in the Broadway hit “Book of Mormon.”
“I’ve been pretty lucky. I was in the original Chicago company. I was Ben Platt’s standby and then he and I went on tour. He then went to Broadway and I went on tour. Then they moved me to the Broadway company the following year,” he recalled. “At the time it was the biggest show in the world before Hamilton came out,” Colletti said.
Colletti stars as Dewey Finn — a role originated by Jack Black in the 2003 film “School of Rock” — where he dances, sings and performs with young musicians who play in a band of fifth graders.
“They are all, like, just phenomenal musicians. Some of them are better than some of the adults I’ve played with over the years,” he said. “Most of these kids have never acted before, they’ve never done anything in professional theater. Most of them have been playing music since they were really young, they never really had the experience. Nevertheless, they all had the guts to give it their all and they are all very talented.”
“School of Rock” is a rock musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on the 2003 film of the same name, the musical follows Finn, an out-of-work rock singer and guitarist, who pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school.
“The kids have all this energy. It’s been magical. I knew it would be a lot of work adjusting to working with kids. The relationships are the incredible part. I love them. We’ve all become like family.”
Colletti says it’s great to be back performing before a hometown audience.
“I love Chicago. I’m biased obviously. I miss the culture and the people here. It’s just so great to be back and have the support.” he said.
“School of Rock: The Musical” is at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through Nov. 19th.