Columbia College Chicago Theatre Dept. Alum Stars on Broadway in New Musical ‘Almost Famous’

Rob Colletti

Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumnus Rob Colletti ’11, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, costars in the Broadway premiere of the new musical Almost Famous, which opened November 3, 2022, at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre in New York City. Almost Famous is based on the 2000 film of the same title written and directed by Cameron Crowe, who also wrote the book and lyrics for the new musical. Crowe is a well-known director and/or writer for such films as Jerry Maguire, Say Anything, Vanilla Sky, and Fast Times at Ridgmont High as well as Almost Famous, which won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The show has music by Tom Kitt, whose musical Next to Normal won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as a Tony Award for Best Original Score. Kitt’s other Broadway credits include the musicals High Fidelity and If/Then.

Rob Colletti (right) and Casey Likes in “Almost Famous. (Photo: Matt Murphy)

Set in 1973, Almost Famous is Crowe’s semiautobiographical account of a 15-year-old aspiring music journalist who is thrust into the rock-and-roll circus when Rolling Stone magazine hires him to go on the road with an up-and-coming band. As previously reported in this blog, Colletti costarred in the 2019 world premiere of Almost Famous at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California. In the Broadway production he reprises his original role of real-life rock critic Lester Bangs, a role played in the original movie by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Bangs, who died in 1982 at age 33, was Crowe’s mentor – an influential music journalist whose work in Creem and Rolling Stone magazines led prominent music journalist Jim DeRogatis, a faculty member in the Columbia College Chicago English and Creative Writing Department and author of the 2000 biography Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, to pronounce Bangs “America’s greatest rock critic.”

Rob Colletti (center) in “School of Rock.”

As reported previously in this blog, Colletti previously starred in the national touring company of the Broadway hit School of Rock, playing a wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school — a role played on the screen by Jack Black. Colletti‘s professional credits also include the Broadway and national touring companies of The Book of Mormon, in which he played the leading role of Elder Cunningham. While still a student at Columbia, he also studied in the Comedy Studies program at The Second City and appeared in The Original Grease at the American Theater Company in Chicago, which restored material from the original 1971 Chicago production of Grease that had been cut from the show’s 1972 Broadway version. The Original Grease was created with the participation of Grease‘s coauthor Jim Jacobs, benefactor of the Jim Jacobs Musical Theatre Scholarship at Columbia College Chicago.

For tickets to the Broadway musical Almost Famous, click here.