Ten years after School of Rock, Caitlin Hale stepping back into spotlight

Ten years after her big-screen debut in School of Rock, Caitlin Hale is looking to break back into Hollywood. (Photo by Robert Kim Photography)

Ten years after her big-screen debut in School of Rock, Caitlin Hale is looking to break back into Hollywood. (Photo by Robert Kim Photography)

On a cold winter day when Caitlin Hale was 11, she arrived home from school and was about to walk in the house when her mother greeted her at the door. As she was standing in the freezing garage, her mother screamed, “You got the part, you got the part!”

Finally her mother was able to get all the words out and told her daughter that she got the part of Marta, a fifth grader-turned-backup singer, in the movie School of Rock.

“It was awesome!” recalls Caitlin, now 23. “I didn’t know what to do. I think the first thing I did was call my best friend and I was screaming and running around the house.”

The role was a breakthrough for Caitlin — and one the recent college graduate is hoping to achieve again.

Caitlin grew up in Connecticut and began auditioning at the age of 7. It was a family commitment that required the support of her parents, aunts and uncles, who would take off work to bring her to an audition. She auditioned for many roles, from Broadway to television and commercials.

Caitlin landed a few local commercials and a day playing role on the soap opera All My Children. But her first big role was School of Rock, four years after she began auditioning. Although the process was grueling and the inevitable rejections tested Caitlin’s self-esteem, she never felt like giving up.

“The audition process taught me to be fearless in pursuit of my dreams,” Caitlin says. “If you really want something that badly, you make time for it. You don’t give up. You continue to pursue your dreams.”

Good thing, because the School of Rock audition changed Caitlin’s career. Caitlin enjoyed auditioning for the movie, saying, “The School of Rock audition was a riot!”

She was initially auditioned for the part of Summer, who Miranda Cosgrove ended up playing. Caitlin was filmed throughout the audition and read lines with the director, Richard Linklater. As if that wasn’t cool enough, she dazzled the entire room with her performances of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” by Gypsy and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin.”

“Here I am, an 11-year-old pipsqueak, belting a Broadway show tune and a bluesy chart topper to a well-known film director,” Caitlin said. “It was an audition I will always remember!”

Caitlin loved the filming process, especially because she was working with a “class” full of kids her age.

Caitlin played Marta, a fifth grader-turned-backup singer in School of Rock.

Caitlin played Marta, a fifth grader-turned-backup singer in School of Rock.

The story focuses on a rock guitarist, Dewey Finn, who gets kicked out of his own band and fakes his ways into a new gig as a substitute teacher, even though he isn’t certified. He learns the children have hidden talents and secretly turns the fifth grade class into a rock band. Caitlin’s character Marta is a petite backup singer with blonde pigtails. (Still today Caitlin has the same long blonde hair, minus the pigtails.)

“It was so much fun,” she said. “It was difficult to juggle everything but it was fun being able to have that experience and opportunity at such a young age.”

Of course, working with Jack Black was pretty cool too. During filming, they had to do multiple takes of certain scenes because it was so difficult to keep a straight face around Jack.

“He is so funny,” she said. “He is exactly who you think he would be.”

A decade later, Caitlin is still friends with many of the kids-turned-young-adults from the movie. They had their 10-year reunion in August 2013.

“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years,” Caitlin said. “It was so cool to see everyone as adults and watch the movie again. Every one of them is so talented in their own way. I know they will all go far in life.”

She loved catching up with everyone and hearing about what they’ve been up to, especially Miranda Cosgrove. She remembers when Miranda got the part of iCarly and how excited everyone was for her.

“She’s a star!” Caitlin said. “I’m so happy for her. I feel so cool being able to say that I worked with her!”

After School of Rock, Caitlin went to a few other auditions and then took a break to finish school. Education is important to Caitlin and her family, which is no surprise considering that her mother is a school superintendent. She wanted to give school 100 percent so she didn’t want to juggle it with acting.

“Education comes first for me,” says Caitlin, who finished high school and then went to Arizona State University, where she recently graduated with a degree in journalism and public relations. In school, she received many great experiences, such as studying abroad in Italy. She is happy she made the decision to finish school, saying, “I wouldn’t trade my college degree for anything.”

Still, Caitlin applied acting to everything she did. After graduation she wanted to go back to her passion.

“I love getting a reaction out of people, whether it’s laughing or whatever else the case may be,” she says. Caitlin moved back home to Connecticut and started auditioning in New York City again. She is currently actively seeking representation, taking acting classes, vocal lessons, and much more.

Caitlin can’t wait to dive back into the acting world!

“I always knew I wanted to be an actress,” she says. “This is just what I’m made to do.”

Patty Caputy, LSY! teen reporter, Mount St. Mary Academy

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