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Rock Opera Returns to Local Stage With Eyes Toward Broadway

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Cast members of Choices A Rock Opera which will be performed in Chappaqua on Nov 11 and 12 Armonks John Krupa wrote and currently directs the show

When “Choices: A Rock Opera” debuted at Armonk’s Whippoorwill Hall early last April, its writer and director John Krupa could not have been more pleased with the initial reaction.

It played to three oversold performances before enthusiastic audiences over a single weekend, much to the delight of most of those who experienced the show.

But Krupa, along with the theater professionals he has surrounded himself with, have ambitions of bringing the show to Broadway and they knew revisions needed to be made.

Six months later Krupa and the cast and crew are set to bring a reworked version of  “Choices” back to the stage, this time at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12.

“It’s still the same story, it’s still the same plot, it’s still the same characters,” Krupa said in a recent telephone conversation. “We didn’t change anything there. It will still be the same cast. What we did was add more to the storyline.”

It is Krupa’s semiautobiographical story, which he completed writing during the pandemic, about the life of a 1980s rock band lead singer who must make professional and personal decisions knowing that there are no do-overs.

Krupa said his team formed focus groups based on the shows in his home community of Armonk, ranging from casual theatergoers to a mix of theater professionals, to learn how to improve the show.

“We sat down with everyone and said what are we lacking, what do we need?” he said. “And the number one thing that came up was more depth, you need to have more depth.”

He wrote about six additional songs and supplemented the storyline because some focus group participants said it wasn’t clear to them the choices that the character is confronted with.

Another change has been adding the actor, dancer and choreographer Holly Block to the team, who has added a heavy dose of dancing to the production.

“She has put the story, the entire story, to motion so there’s movement everywhere, and motion creates a lot of the energy,” Krupa said. “I’m really excited about what she’s brought.”

The cast is led by Broadway veteran MiG Ayesa, which was a coup for the production team and gave the show instant credibility. Krupa said earlier this year that Ayesa was impressed with the script and the storyline. The only change to the cast is a handful of professional dancers to pull off the enhanced choreography, he said.

Current plans call for the show to be workshopped again following next month’s performances with additional improvements incorporated into the production. Additional performances will likely be scheduled for somewhere in Westchester next year, Krupa said.

After that, if all goes well, they will take it on the road followed by a Broadway opening sometime after that. By then, Krupa will have handed off ‘Choices’ to the Broadway team.

“Right now, we have producers and we’re bringing in a new director as well,” he said.

For the upcoming shows, Krupa also wanted to keep it local to give Westchester residents the chance to see ‘Choices’ as it is being prepared for the big time.

“In the end, we decided on Chappaqua Performing Arts Center because it’s a beautiful new theater, it’s the size we were looking for, which is double the size of Whippoorwill Hall,” Krupa said of the roughly 425-seat venue on the campus of Chappaqua Crossing. “We love the people over there, they welcomed us with open arms and we’re very excited, very excited to still be in front of our home crowd, our friends and family.”

Showtime for “Choice: A Rock Opera” will be 8 p.m. both evenings. Tickets are $42.50 each and can be bought by visiting www.chappaquapac.org or at www.choicesarockopera.com.

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