This weekend, some Lower Hudson Valley high schools will take audiences back the 1990’s with “Rent.” Or the ’80s in “Footloose.” Or the late ’50s with “Grease” or “West Side Story.” Or way back to the Romans with “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”
Ossining High School has set its musical time machine to 1971 with “Loserville,” a new musical by Elliot Davis and James Bourne, inspired by the album “Welcome to Loserville,” by Bourne’s British pop-punk bank, Son of Dork.
It’s 1971 and four geeky high-school friends — Michael Dork (junior Marcus Roman), Francis Weir (senior Miguel Garcia), Lucas Lloyd (junior Eli Hersh) and Marvin Camden (junior Will Gillman) — are obsessed with science fiction. They think about “Star Trek” and dream about star wars (still lowercase and generic in 1971) and a day when computers will be able to talk to each other. Now, if they could only figure out a way to talk to girls.
They dream while facing the high-school reality that they are not the popular kids, like the rich jock, Eddie (senior Jonathan Dfouni) and his girlfriend, Leia Dawkins (junior Daniela Rodrigues). Enter a girl geek, Holly Manson (senior Claudia Tesoro), who changes the equation.
The score is uptempo and rocking — did I mention the music is from a British pop-punk band? — and the dancing more than keeps pace. The stage positively twitches with activity.
Director Jessica Beattie said she chose “Loserville” precisely because it hadn’t been done. Ossining’s production marks the musical’s regional high school premiere. Bonus: Ossining’s shows are free.
Dfouni — the musical’s antagonist, Eddie — took a break from a recent rehearsal to take me through the story, describing his role as “the evil force in the show.” There’s a reason that Eddie is the way he is, though, and his story arc adds dimension to “Loserville.”
As for the score, “there’s really a variety of different musical styles,” he said. “There are a doo-wop songs, a few ballads in there. There are all kinds of vibes in there.”
(Get a feel for the score in this trailer from the 2012-13 West End production.)
“Loserville”—7 p.m., March 19, 20, 21—Free—914-762-5760.
Here’s the Running Lines video I shot at Ossining. Enjoy!