Artists in their own words: Layne Roate

Layne Roate, who plays Ned, and Madison Micucci on stage for School of Rock The Musical. (Photo by Evan Murphy)

Who: Layne Roate

What: Actor, playing Ned in School of Rock The Musical, which will be at the Saenger Theater from October 30 through November 4.

Quote: “Jack Black is great, but our Dewey is phenomenal; he’s jumping around singing and hanging from the rafters, and he’s wearing a sweater vest the whole time.”


Q: Who was your best substitute teacher in grade school and why?

LR: There was a sub I had that I saw in one of the local theater shows; he was an actor, and I was so excited that he was subbing our class. I was so nervous that I didn’t talk the entire class, and then when class was over I went up to him and asked him, ‘Were you in this show?’ He was, and I thought that was so cool.

Sadly, I can’t remember his name [laughing], but I do remember what show it was. He was performing in The Who’s Tommy, so I had seen him in the musical before he was my teacher. There was about a three or four month period between him acting in that musical and then becoming our substitute, but right when I saw him I recognized him.

It was weird because I didn’t totally understand how he could be so cool and play in this awesome musical and then end up being our substitute. When I saw him on stage I wanted to be like him, and then he shows up in class as Mr. So-and-So.

Although, he was a good substitute teacher. It wasn’t one of those, ‘Be quiet and watch this movie’ deals.

Q: What do you wish you could absorb rather than eat?

LR: Probably carrots. Particularly, steamed carrots. There’s a reason for this. When I was a kid I had eaten steamed carrots, and then all of us kids were outside playing, and I vomited. Since then, I have been very wary about eating any kind of carrot.

I know I should be eating carrots because they’re healthy and all that, but that experience must have really traumatized me.

I just remember everyone laughing when I barfed. Plus, it was orange so everyone looked at me and said, ‘What’s wrong with you? Your barf is orange.’ And here I am 25 years later and still remembering that experience [laughing]. It’s obviously stuck with me.

Q: What side business could you see your character, Ned, starting?

LR: Probably whatever his girlfriend told him to do. Ned is completely whipped by Patty, so it would be any company that Patty told him to open. She could go up to him and say, ‘Hey, you’re going to sell horse manure for my uncle’s company,’ and Ned would just smile and say, ‘Okay.’

That’s Ned in a nutshell. He surrounds himself with type-A personalities, so he doesn’t have to think for himself. Dewey is a type-A personality; he’s just lazy. Patty works for the city and is trying to work her way up, so Ned is just kind of floating around.

That’s why Ned would do anything she asks of him.

Q: When do you use or not use a recipe?

LR: I have been using recipes the older I get. The older I get the more I realize that I’m a terrible cook. My real-life girlfriend Natalie, she’s awesome, introduced me to the world of Pinterest. I had always thought that Pinterest didn’t have anything interesting on it, but she showed it to me, and there were all these recipes on there.

When we moved to New York, I made some of those recipes for her, and they actually weren’t terrible. So, I’d say more often than not, I’m now going to follow a recipe.

We tried out the Hello Fresh situation for a couple months as well, and those recipes were spot-on. And one of my good friends is a fantastic chef, so I’ve helped him with a few recipes. What I’m saying is I really don’t trust myself to go off-the-cuff and make anything I want.

When I was younger my gourmet skills were throwing random toppings on of a frozen pizza. In reaching my thirties, I’m trying to grow up a little bit; although, I will still do the gourmet frozen pizza now and then.

Q: What is an impressive piece of information you still remember from learning in school. You know, the type of information you might randomly pull out at a party.

LR: In high school, my friend and I were very proud of this project we did for class. We had to make a video or write an essay, and we chose the video. It had to be about MacBeth and retelling MacBeth however you wanted.

Well, we filmed each iconic scene of MacBeth as a different film genre. We had a film noir scene, a horror genre scene, and I was playing MacBeth, so I did a whole Charlie Chaplin thing for one of the scenes. We still talk about that project to this day, and that was over a decade ago.

Also, I can still recite the entire Preamble…simply because of Schoolhouse Rock. I could probably recite the entire album of Schoolhouse Rock, actually.

You can see Layne Roate as Ned in School of Rock The Musical, which will be at the Saenger from October 30-November 4.



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