Introduce Yourself(ie): 10 Questions with School of Rock's Ned Schneebly, Jonathan Gould
February 12th, 2018
by Jonathan Gould
Canadian actor and singer/songwriter Jonathan Gould makes his Broadway debut as the lovable nerd Ned Schneebly (Dewey Finn's roommate and former band member who gave up his rock dream to join the grown up world and appease the worst girlfriend ever) in the hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical School of Rock.
BroadwayBox gets to know Jonathan a bit better this week as he talks about life onstage and backstage at School of Rock, growing up with and being inspired by Alanis Morissette, and his go-go-Gadget talent for voices.
1. How did School of Rock first appear on your radar:
I got a request to audition for SOR through my agent in an email. It included a breakdown with what material to prepare, when and where to show up and Voila! One of several auditions I had to prepare for that particular week in March of last year I remember. Which is pretty commonplace, and helps in the sense of not having to stress too much over one at a time, just several at a time! Ya do what you can, with the time you have, ya know? I had seen a clip from it at the Tony’s the year before, and that’s pretty much all I knew about the show in general. Aside from being a big fan of the movie.
2. Who was your first call after finding out you’d make your Broadway debut as Ned:
My parents! Always my Mum and Pops. I love sharing great life news with them as soon as possible because I know how much pleasure it gives them. Especially coming from my sisters and me.
3. Other than School of Rock, what’s your favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber score:
I have to say Phantom of the Opera purely based on sentimental reasons. It was the first show I had ever seen on Broadway.
4. Ned is such a sweet nerd. What do you nerd out over IRL:
Oh boy, ok here’s a list of a few of my nerd outs: The NBA, Dogs, Cats, Back to the Future Part 2, Toronto Raptors, Toronto Blue Jays, 24 hour news cycles, podcasts and documentaries.
5. You’re a multi-instrumentalist. How many do you play, and which did you master first:
I started playing guitar when I was 8 years old. From there, I took up the piano, bass and drums, and by the time I got to high school, I had the urge to play the bag pipes. So I took lessons. Anything I could get my hands on really, I would play! I still consider guitar to be my main jam though.
6. What album totally rocked your world and inspired you as a songwriter:
"Jagged Little Pill" by Alanis Morissette. My sisters and I grew up with her and her twin Wade, performing in community theater together in our hometown of Ottawa. She’s about 5 years older than me. But I remember her showing us her first song on cassette tape that she had asked my Dad to play in the car. I was probably 6 years old at the time and was so amazed you could write something and then listen to it in the car! Many years later, I heard JLP as a 16 year old, and was so proud because it truly was and is a near perfect album. And I thought if she can do it, I can too!
7. Favorite backstage hobby at School of Rock:
There are a lot of layers and levels to the Winter Garden Theater, quite literally. First floor is the stage area, walk up and you’ve arrived at the men’s ensemble dressing room, walk up another level you have more dressing rooms, one more level up some more dressing rooms..anyway the point I am getting to is that I really enjoy all of these layers and dynamics of awesome artists. It’s fun to just wander and kibitz with everyone.
8. Tell us a memorable audition story:
The most memorable auditions are usually the ones I have next to no time to prepare for. One in particular was given to me the night before to perform the next morning. It was a new song I’d never heard before. So I just learned what I could. Went in there with a few hours of sleep. Felt pretty good. Was going over all the lyrics in my head on the way there. Still feeling good. Got in the room. Started to sing, the words left my brain, or were never really there to begin with. But I just kept on going. Lots of gibberish mixed in with some English. It kinda rhymed too.
9. How is Broadway different than what you expected coming from professional theatre in Canada:
It’s all very similar in terms of structure and etiquette and process. The biggest difference is with Broadway audiences. There’s more people filling those seats consistently on a daily basis.
10. You’ve voiced a bunch of cartoon characters, including Dave on Netflix's Scaredy Squirrel. What cartoon characters had a big impact on you growing up, and when did you discover your skill for voices:
Every morning before school, while my dad was getting ready for work, he’d have the news on TV in his bedroom and I’d switch the channel to catch whatever I could of Inspector Gadget until I had to get ready. I loved all those characters, especially Dr. Claw. I would do a lot of impressions growing up and mimic all of these characters for a laugh or two. Some things never change.
Don't miss Jonathan Gould as Ned Schneebly in 'School of Rock' at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre.