Like theater? Well, I reckon you’re in luck.
One of our “22 People to Watch in Westchester County,” Stephen Ferri, 22, founder of Harrison Summer Theater, is joining forces with the White Plains Performing Arts Center. Starting July 26, he’ll be gracing the county with BARE: A Pop Opera to Westchester, a newfangled spin on stereotypes and an interesting take on acceptance.
Westchester Magazine was able to reach the musical director before the premiere to talk about the contemporary rock musical and his partnership with WPPAC. (This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity purposes, but you’ve already assumed that).
Westchester Magazine: Ferri, you started your partnership with WPPAC in 2010. What are you looking forward to accomplish with this partnership?
Ferri: The past three years have been great, and we had sold-out runs of our production. We are looking forward to continuing the partnership and building a bigger company. Also, we are the first to have a live show in the area since Broadway Production. BARE: A Pop Opera was the original version off Broadway. Many people didn’t like it at first, so the producers rewrote a lot of stuff. Then, it was like a cult following. They have another version based on that one which had a lot of book script. What we are presenting is the original [version] with all the singing. It is not an opera; it is pop rock and very contemporary. We bring local and New York City performers and alternate between one family show and one premier. We want to keep on bringing new and contemporary shows for our audience instead of the old standards.
WMag: What is it about this original version of BARE that made you choose this musical to premier at the WPPAC?
Ferri: It speaks in so many different levels. It focuses primarily in the relationship between two boys and how the religion had a great impact on how things were seen. For me, it tells that it doesn’t take an army of people to change something. Also, it focuses on different stereotypes, like the popular girl who doesn’t fit in. All in all, the different groups can come together and go past the stereotypes and why other people aren’t accepted. I think that all people are the same, whatever they are. In today’s world, this musical is very relevant with all the bullying that is happening. We end the play with this song called “One Voice” that is when everybody come together to say it is not okay.
WMag: What would you like the public to know about the musical before walking in?
Ferri: We have the most talented group of people I’ve seen on stage. People don’t want to miss this premier show because no one else has done it here. I don’t want to say it’s new, but this piece is not well known. People would enjoy to step out of just-going-to-see-a-show thing because BARE is an original piece written from somebody’s thoughts. It is fresh and different from the standards, from what people expect to see anywhere else, and much better than many well-known big titles.