Fine Living Lancaster: Is the performance of “School of Rock” at Popovsky Performing Arts Studio similar to the movie?
Michael Popovsy: Yes! Our performance is exactly like the 2003 movie starring Jack Black, with some additional songs (written by Andrew Lloyd Weber, who is famous for writing “Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”). The Broadway-style production is also faster-paced than the movie, making it really lively and so much fun to watch.
FLL: Tell me about the cast members in your production.
MP: Well, this is a project with our youth production. So, everyone on stage must be 18 years old and younger.
FLL: Tell me about how you got the idea for performing this show.
MP: Well, “School of Rock” came out on Broadway in November of 2015. Normally when shows are on Broadway, the companies who own the rights will not let other theaters do the show right away. However, because “School of Rock” is a story promoting music in schools and shows how music can help young people develop their own identity, Andrew Lloyd Weber wanted to make this show available to youth productions right away.
FLL: That’s amazing, and must be so exciting for you!
MP: It is! And we are the first theater company in our area to have the rights to “School of Rock.”
FLL: How long will the rehearsal process take from start to finish?
MP: We began rehearsal on June 13, and we will be rehearsing until the first show on August 13!
FLL: What are you hoping the audience takes away from the show?
MP: Well, number one, we want the audience to have fun! We, as a cast, got to see the show on Broadway and every single one of us left with a huge smile on our faces. We were practically dancing in the aisles! Second, and maybe most importantly, the musical spends a lot of time looking at how music affects the kids, how it influences them, and how it helps them find their own individual personality. That is the one serious thing I hope our audience takes away.
FLL: How do you go about finding the performers?
MP: Whenever we hold auditions, we always open them up to the public. Some of them are students of Popovsky Performing Arts Studio, but it’s never a requirement. We have people from Berks County, Lebanon County, and Dauphin County in the cast. It is truly a phenomenal cast. A lot of these kids have professional credits with the Fulton, the American Music Theater, and the Dutch Apple. They are so talented. I want everyone to understand the level of talent these kids have.
FLL: Do they play their own live instruments on stage, too?
MP: YES! The kids in the band are playing live on stage. The main character, Dewey, plays guitar live. It’s been challenging, but the kids are really stepping up and doing a wonderful job.
And so, if you want to have the full experience of a cast putting on a fabulous show while playing their own instruments the entire time, go see “School of Rock” on August 13!