Finding Neverland, the enchanting Broadway musical, presented by Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) will be in Houston for three shows at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts on April 13-14. SPA will also host a SPA Family Day before the Sunday, April 14 matinee from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The SPA Family Day will feature a photo booth, fun activities for all ages. For more details, visit www.spahouston.org
Our HFM Kid Ambassador Lizzie Tyer spoke with local cast member Paul Schoeller, a middle schooler from Cypress, TX, who joins the Finding Neverland cast as one of The Llewelyn Davies Children (George/Peter/Jack.) Schoeller’s previous credits include the national tour of The Sound of Music (Friedrich), which was presented by Society for the Performing Arts in June 2018.
How did you get your start in theatre?
I auditioned for the fifth-grade musical which was Aladdin, Jr. and I got the part of Aladdin! When I went to middle school the next year I auditioned for Willy Wonka, Jr. and I got the part of Charlie Bucket. I was so happy to be able to do theatre with all my new friends, but I craved more. My dad found a local youth theatre that was doing the production of Seussical, Jr. so I auditioned. I got the role of JoJo and I was ecstatic! That is when I think I got “bit by the bug.”
I went to New York City that summer for a Broadway intensive called “Broadway Artists Alliance”. This is where I got spotted by my manager, Lisa Calli, and got spotted for tours. Later that year I auditioned for the Sound of Music National tour and booked the part of Friedrich Von Trapp. I then auditioned for Finding Neverland and here I am!
What is it like playing multiple parts rather than just one?
It is a little challenging because you go on for George one night and then you’re Peter the next. It can get confusing when you have to sing different harmonies and act out different blocking and lines. All the boys rotate between roles and we get to go on standby for some shows. Recently I was on standby and someone got sick at intermission, so I had to go on for Peter for act two. I enjoy getting to play different roles because it keeps you on your toes.
Do you prefer regular school or having a tutor on the road? Why?
I like having a tutor on the road because I can go at my own pace for school, and I don’t have to wait for other kids to finish their work to continue with mine.
What is your favorite part of traveling with a professional theatre group?
I love getting to perform with such amazingly talented people. They are really what make touring so special and rewarding.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss my friends and my dog. I do miss my theatre and choir directors back home too, especially Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Noel and Mr. Acree my voice coach.
How are you continuing with your theatre education/training while on the road?
There is not much time to get lessons on the road, but I learn a lot from my fellow actors on stage.
How does it feel to be back in Houston?
I am so happy that I get to sleep in my own bed and see my friends! I love performing at Jones Hall. It is such a great venue and we have great audiences.
Who has been your favorite person to meet through your professional career? Why?
I really loved when I got to meet Christopher Sieber. He is such a great guy and he is incredibly talented.
What has been your best moment on stage?
My best moment on stage was when I sang “When your Feet Don’t touch the Ground” as Peter for the first time. It was incredible to get to sing with such a talented man as Jeff Sullivan.
What has been your favorite place to visit?
I really enjoyed visiting Spokane, Washington because I got to go ice skating and see the waterfalls. We also went go-karting.
How do you prepare before each show?
I do a physical warm up and put my Mic in my hair. Then I fix my hair and put my costumes on. After that I have to go to music warm ups to warm up my voice.
What advice do you have for aspiring musical theatre students?
If you really want to be a musical theatre student you need to attend master classes, join a theatre group so you can practice your skill, audition for musicals that have roles for your age, and work hard to prove that you are the right choice for that role. That is the best advice I could give to aspiring musical theatre students.
About Lizzie Tyer, HFM Kid Ambassador
Lizzie, a freshman at George Ranch High School, portrayed Elsa in Inspiration Stage’s Frozen JR. for the New Works Showcase at the Junior Theatre Festival West in Sacramento earlier this year. Inspiration Stage is a national award-winning performance arts studio located in the historic Sugar Land Auditorium. Read more about her here: www.houstonfamilymagazine.com/family-fun/hfm-kid-model-search-bios.