Having succeeded in business with a lot of trying last year, Alexander Pronevich puts on his dancing sneakers this year, as Valhalla High School stages “Footloose.”
It’s the last big-musical role of his high-school career, and Pronevich — a Metro Award nominee for portraying J. Pierrepont Finch in last year’s “How to Succeed without Really Trying” — is going out dancing, in a role made famous by Kevin Bacon in the 1984 film.
He is now one degree from Kevin Bacon.
Pronevich came onto the theater scene at Valhalla four years ago, playing Bernstein in “Little Shop of Horrors,” what he calls “a great singing role for a freshman.” As a sophomore, he was the nimble Scarecrow in “The Wiz.” Last year, came Finch.
And now, Ren McCormack, the rebellious newcomer whose arrival in Bomont turns the Bible Belt town on its ear.
“It’s definitely a wide range of roles, a good thing before I go off on my own and maybe pursue something like this in college,” Pronevich said at a recent rehearsal as his castmates worked on big dance number. “I was thinking of double majoring in theater and performing arts and maybe computer sciences. It’s always good to have a safe backup.”
He has a history with this musical, having appeared in a White Plains PAC production as an amalgam of cronies to the character Chuck Cranston, Ren’s rival for the affections of the preacher’s daughter, Ariel.
“For one night of the show, I had to fill in for Chuck in one scene, because he wasn’t feeling well,” he said. “It was so crazy, but we were able to pull it off.”
He played the bad guy for a second, “but now I get to be the good guy.”
Pronevich can relate to Ren.
“It feels like something I would do, maybe not with all the dancing and such, but the whole entire experience feels like it would be something me.”
The song “I Can’t Stand Still” is a highlight for the actor, who gets to do “some of the wildest singing I’ve ever done.”
And the choreography is unique.
“They’re kinda letting me and the dance captain, Kira Hickey, kind of take it in our own hands. We’re making it up as we go along and then we’ll show it to the directors and see what they think.”
For all the drama — a boy who’s trying to find himself in a town that has outlawed dancing — “Footloose” is upbeat, Pronevich said.
“There’s not a day when the music doesn’t put a smile on my face — and the parents are going to love this music.”
With that, he excuses himself and runs down the aisle of the theater to jump into the show’s title number, one that leads off the show.
The kid’s got some dancing to do.
“Footloose”—7 p.m., March 20; 1 and 7 p.m., March 21—$10, $5 students and seniors.
Here’s the Running Lines video I shot at Valhalla. Enjoy!