Feb. 8 2012 12:00 AM

A cult movie from 1990 becomes a stage musical


Area audiences will have the chance to see something new — and yet perhaps familiar — when the Michigan State University Department of Theatre offers free performances of the semi-staged workshop of “Pump Up The Volume,”  a musical adaptation of the 1990 Christian Slater film.

According to director David Solomon, a guest artist in residence, the show serves as both a chance for students to work on a new play under development and for audiences to inject feedback to help the musical’s creative team fine-tune the show before a full production is launched.

“These students are used to doing established works, previously produced shows,” Solomon said.  “I wanted them to feel like they were a part of creating this show.”

Although the show is fully memorized and choreographed, the design elements — from lighting to costumes to orchestration — are very limited.

 “We’re making adjustments, tweaking lines;  I’m just trying to see what works and what doesn’t, said Solomon, who has worked on such Broadway shows as “9 to 5,” “Pal Joey” and “Sunday in the Park with George.”

Adapted from Allan Moyle’s original screenplay, “Volume” tells of a lonely Arizona teen who starts a pirate radio station using the persona of irreverent DJ Hard Harry. His broadcasts inadvertently start something of a revolution among the disaffected youths at his high school.

“It was a very good movie, and it’s such a relevant story,” Solomon said. “No matter what generation you’re a part of, there’s something about being a teenager when you realize you have something to say and no one to say it to.”

The cast includes Nick Strong, Brandon Piper, Claudia Dibbs, Trish Amanda Hubbard, Hajin Cho, Nicholas Dressel, Dana Brazil, Brittany Ann Nicol, Christopher Robinson, Adia Alli, Michael Ryan Cleland, Teriah Fleming, Neva Keuroglian, Andrea Miller, Eric Miller, Nick Reid and Joshua Whitson.

A talkback session with the cast, writers and director will follow each performance.

‘Pump Up the Volume’

Michigan State University Arena Theatre 

7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 and  Saturday, Feb. 11; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12 Free

(517) 355-6690