Zach Garcia sat on the edge of the stage, with a guitar in its case at his side.
As the accompanist launched into a song from “An Adaptation of a Very Potter Musical,” Garcia stood up and started singing. After several bars, another actor joined him on stage and their voices blended in song.
The curtain rose, and the stage filled with singing and dancing actors playing students at Hogwarts, the fictional school that serves as the setting for the Harry Potter books.
Garcia and his cast were rehearsing the opening song from “An Adaptation of a Very Potter Musical,” which he adapted from the original script of “A Very Potter Musical.” Garcia is also the director, overseeing every aspect of the show.
The Ada resident, who is a sophomore majoring in vocal music education at East Central University, said the show is bound to appeal to fans of the popular Harry Potter series. He noted that the show uses plot points and characters from several books in the series.
“For someone that’s familiar with the book, it takes a totally hilarious spin on everything you know from it,” he said in a Feb. 6 interview. “It’ll be great.”
The show runs March 6-8 at the Dorothy Summers Theater, located on the ECU campus. There is no charge for admission.
Putting it together
Garcia started adopting the script for “A Very Potter Musical” in August 2013, hoping to trim the running time from two and a half hours to a little under two hours. He hit a snag when Starkid Productions — the Michigan-based theater company that produced the original show — was embroiled in a copyright dispute with Warner Brothers, which owned the rights to the material.
Garcia finished his adaptation by fall break in 2013, and the copyright dispute between Starkid and Warner Bros. was eventually resolved. That allowed Garcia and his cast to move ahead with rehearsals.
Garcia originally hoped to receive college credit for the show, but the copyright dispute made that impossible, he said. He is using ECU’s facilities for rehearsals and performance, but the show is not sponsored by the university.
Garcia cast himself as Harry Potter, and his friends Jack Malm and Brittney Davis are playing Potter’s friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The rest of the cast is made up of other ECU students, faculty members and alumni.
Garcia and the actors began rehearsals Jan. 13, but they have only a few more weeks to put the show together for opening night. Time is short because rehearsals are limited to one hour each night, three nights a week.
“Time has certainly been an issue, but like I’ve said, my actors just blew me away,” Garcia said. “They came prepared and they came good, and we’ve done the best we possibly could up to this point.”
He said the cast has finished blocking stage movements and memorized lines for Act 1 and is one-third of the way through Act 2. He said he is confident that the show will be ready on opening night.
Most people might balk at directing and taking the lead role in a musical production. But Garcia seemed to relish the challenge, saying that it has helped him grow as an actor and a director.
“I’ve learned a lot about acting in general from directing and studying others,” he said. “You study yourself, but you can never fully understand yourself as a director would. So as I’m acting and thinking about stuff for myself, I also can see others as I try to direct them and get the best out of them. And then I can apply it to myself.”
Reach Eric Swanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.