The Cast of 'School of Rock,' Then and Now

7:00 AM 10/3/2018

by Max Geschwind

The Richard Linklater-directed musical comedy starring Jack Black was released in theaters 15 years ago.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Richard Linklater-directed musical comedy School of Rock. The film proved to be a breakthrough for Jack Black, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a musical/comedy while also breaking box-office records by becoming the highest-grossing music-themed comedy at the time of release, earning more than $130 million worldwide. Rock is critically acclaimed, boasting a 92 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating. Fifteen years after its theatrical release, the legacy of the film lives on with the 2015 Andrew Lloyd Webber-composed Broadway musical adaptation in addition to the more kid-friendly television series adaptation on Nickelodeon that lasted three seasons.

In School of Rock, Black plays struggling musician Dewey Finn, who is forced to leave his rock band and goes undercover as a substitute teacher at a college-preparatory school to earn some cash. Soon he discovers that the class of students he’s teaching has gifted musical abilities and decides to form a new band of fourth-graders to compete in Battle of the Bands and win the cash prize to take him out of his dire financial situation.

Read on to take a look back at the cast then and what they've been up to in the time since the movie first hit theaters Oct. 3, 2003.

  • Jack Black

    Dewey Finn

    Gabe Ginsberg/Getty; Photofest

    Soon after his breakout performance in School of Rock, Black experienced more success in film. From his more comical work in films such as Nacho Libre and Gulliver’s Travels to his more dramatic turns in King Kong and Bernie, Black has taken on roles in a variety of genres. In addition to his live-action work, Black is notable for lending his voice to several commercially successful animated films such as voicing Lenny the shark in Shark Tale and, more notably, the panda Po in the Kung Fu Panda franchise.

    More recently, Black portrayed R.L. Stine in the family horror comedy Goosebumps, which is set to release a sequel, Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween, in October, where Black will reprise his role. In December 2017, Black starred alongside Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas in the adventure comedy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which is part of the Jumanji franchise. It grossed $961 million worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2017. A sequel is already in the works for release in December 2019. This year, Black co-starred with Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill in the Gus Van Sant-directed comedy-drama Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, which played at Sundance and was picked up by Amazon Studios, which was released theatrically in July. Additionally, Black, alongside co-star Cate Blanchett, appeared in the gothic fantasy horror The House With a Clock in Its Walls, which hit theaters Sept. 21.

  • Joan Cusack

    Principal Mullins

    Jason Kempin/Getty; Photofest

    Following her performance as the by-the-book, high-strung Principal Mullins, Cusack has gone on to appear in several under-the-radar, independent features such as Friends With Money, where she co-starred with Frances McDormand, Jennifer Aniston, and Catherine Keener, and the black comedy Welcome to Me with Kristen Wiig. Other films Cusack has been featured in since Rock include Raising Helen, Ice Princess, Martian Child, Confessions of a Shopaholic, My Sister’s Keeper and The End of the Tour. Similar to Black, Cusack is also noted for lending her distinct voice to several animated films, most notably playing the Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl in the Disney-Pixar franchise Toy Story in addition to other voice work in films such as Chicken Little, Mars Needs Moms and Arthur Christmas.

    On the TV side, Cusack is noted for her recurring performance in the Showtime series Shameless from 2011-15, which earned her five Emmy nominations including a win for best guest actress in a comedy series in 2015.

  • Sarah Silverman

    Patty Di Marco

    John Shearer/Getty; Photofest

    Silverman’s career as a stand-up comedienne quickly catapulted after her performance as the domineering girlfriend of Black’s roommate Ned. While making guest-starring appearances on shows such as Monk, Frasier and Entourage, Silverman landed her own show with The Sarah Silverman Program, a sitcom on Comedy Central created, written, executive produced and starring Silverman. The show achieved critical success and garnered Silverman her first Emmy nomination. Soon after the show’s cancellation, Silverman lent her voice to the Fox animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers. In 2013, HBO released her first major stand-up special, Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles, which earned Silverman an Emmy. She had another stand-up special, this time on Netflix, titled Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust, which was released in 2017. She currently is the host of I Love you, America With Sarah Silverman, a talk show that debuted on Hulu in October 2017 to positive critical reception. The series has been picked up for a second season, which debuted in September.

    In addition to her prolific work as a comedienne and television actress, Silverman has managed to maintain a consistent presence in film through cameos in films such as Rent, Funny People and The Muppets. Recently she has taken a more dramatic turn in her roles in films such as the independent feature I Smile Back, which earned Silverman critical praise and a SAG nomination for best actress, and the Billie Jean King biopic Battle of the Sexes. This November, she’ll be reprising her role as Vanellope von Schweetz in the Wreck-it-Ralph sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet.

  • Mike White

    Ned Schneebly

    Kevin Winter/Getty; Photofest

    Mike White’s success post-School of Rock has come mostly behind the camera instead of in front. White, who was the screenwriter of Rock, went on to create, write and produce television shows such as Cracking Up and Enlightened. He also went on to produce films such as Magic Mike in addition to Nacho Libre and The D Train, where he reunited with Rock co-star Jack Black. 2017 was a big year for White, where he saw many of his screenplays become feature films with Beatriz at Dinner, The Emoji Movie and Pitch Perfect 3. He also had his major feature film directorial debut with the Ben Stiller-starring comedy-drama Brad’s Status, which White also wrote.  White’s next screenwriting endeavor is titled The One and Only Ivan, an animated family comedy starring Angelina Jolie, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren and Danny DeVito.

  • Miranda Cosgrove

    Summer

    Steve Mack/WireImage; Photofest

    Her acting debut in School of Rock is what allowed Cosgrove to achieve success and popularity among the children and tween demographics. She had a main role in the Nickelodeon series Drake & Josh as the titular characters’ mischievous, younger sister. After the show’s cancellation in 2007, Nickelodeon kept her in the corporate family with a starring role as the titular character in the wildly popular teen sitcom iCarly, which ran for six seasons. On the film side, Cosgrove is noted for her voice work as Margo in the Despicable Me franchise. After a brief stint as a part of the main cast on the short-lived NBC sitcom Crowded, Cosgrove is now working on the CBS comedy series History of Them, which was just picked up and set to premiere later this year.

  • Joey Gaydos Jr.

    Zack

    Jenny Anderson/Getty; Getty

    Fifteen years later, School of Rock to this day remains Gaydos’ sole onscreen acting credit. However, he has instead decided to focus on his music career. He released a self-titled album in 2004 and continues to perform at local music festivals with the band Stereo Jane. He currently lives in Detroit.

  • Kevin Clark

    Freddy

    Photofest; Rick Kern/Getty

    Clark, like Gaydos, never appeared in film after School of Rock. Instead, he lives a quieter life as a professional drummer in Chicago. He recently lent his beats to local Chicago performer Robbie Gold.

     

  • Rebecca Brown

    Katie

    David Livingston/Getty; Photofest

    Brown turned to comedy after School of Rock, working with The Second City in Chicago on several sketch revues and has performed at iO, the Laugh Factory and many more staples of the Chicago comedy scene. She also continues to sing and play guitar, regularly sharing videos of her performances and covers on her YouTube channel.

  • Robert Tsai

    Lawrence

    Rick Kern/Getty; Photofest

    As with several of the other child actors, Tsai wrappped up his acting career right after School of Rock. However, he continues to play the piano. While attending Dartmouth College, Tsai played at concerts, also working on musical productions.

  • Maryam Hassan

    Tomika

    Photofest; Rick Kern/Getty

    Hassan is probably the cast member that is least visible from the public scene post-School of Rock. She reunited with her former castmates in 2013 for a performance to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the film while also attending a Broadway production of School of Rock in 2015.

  • Caitlin Hale

    Marta

    Photofest; Instagram/CaitlinMHale

    Hale continued to stay in the business through working in commercials. She earned a journalism degree from Arizona State University in 2013 and currently works as a publicist based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Additionally, according to her IMDb, Hale is expected to return to acting in the upcoming family animated series Max & Wrigley as well as star in the upcoming horror film Grimmerson Manor, due to hit theaters in October. She also serves as a script consultant on the short film Typecast.

  • Aleisha Allen

    Alicia

    YouTube/ Ben Petaja; Jenny Anderson/Getty

    Allen continued to stay in the business by taking on the role of Lindsey Kingston in the Ice Cube-starring films Are We There Yet? and Are We Done Yet?. Allen also appeared on Blue’s Clues through 2004 and starred in an episode of The Electric Company in 2010. She had a minor role in the Jason Reitman-directed black comedy Young Adult and lent her voice to an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! in 2015.

  • Brian Falduto

    Billy

    Right, Jenny Anderson/Getty Images

    While Falduto never acted again after School of Rock, he recently garnered headlines in March 2018 through a commentary piece he wrote for Advocate regarding the struggle he had in coming out as gay for 20 years immediately following the release of Rock. Recently, he was working on an educational touring show that went around to public schools in New York City. He also debuted his acoustic EP Love One Another, which has themes of LGBT tolerance and acceptance. He regularly publishes videos on his YouTube channel of covers and performances of his original songs.