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BWW Interview: Paul Schoeller Talks FINDING NEVERLAND

BWW Interview: Paul Schoeller Talks FINDING NEVERLAND
L to R: Josiah Smothers, Jeff Sullivan, Ruby Gibbs and Paul Schoeller in FINDING NEVERLAND, playing at Jones Hall April 13-14, 2019.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

This Saturday and Sunday, the Society for the Performing Arts invites you to fly away with three performances of Diane Paulus's FINDING NEVERLAND, a musical that follows the friendship between J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired his iconic character and story, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up.

FINDING NEVERLAND is based on David Magee's Academy Award-winning film (also titled FINDING NEVERLAND) and The Man Who Was Peter Pan, a play from Allan Knee (LITTLE WOMEN). It features a book by Olivier Award®-nominee James Graham, music and lyrics by Gary Barlow and Grammy Award®- winner Eliot Kennedy, original choreography by Emmy Award®-winner Mia Michaels, and design by Tony Award®-winners Scott Pask (set) and Kenneth Posner (lighting). BroadwayWorld reviewer David Edward Perry says the musical is "a delightful dive into the power of imagination."

And amidst the Oscar and Tony winners of FINDING NEVERLAND sits Paul Schoeller, a middle schooler from Cypress, Texas, who is well on his way to becoming a Broadway veteran. Last year around this time, Schoeller was Friedrich in the national tour of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Now, he's George/Peter/Jack in the national tour of FINDING NEVERLAND.

BWW Interview: Paul Schoeller Talks FINDING NEVERLAND
Paul Schoeller, above, plays George and Peter
in the FINDING NEVERLAND national tour.
Photo courtesy of SPA

BroadwayWorld: What have you been up to since we spoke in May of last year ahead of your SPA performance as Friedrich in THE SOUND OF MUSIC?

Paul Schoeller: I had a very relaxing summer break and I had fun with my friends. I attended an intensive summer theater training camp in July to improve myself. When I got the news that I was going to be in FINDING NEVERLAND, I was ecstatic! I went to rehearsals in September and started performing the beginning of October. I've been on the tour since September 1st and this is my first trip back home to Houston.

BroadwayWorld: Now that you have THE SOUND OF MUSIC tour under your belt, are tours easier?

Paul Schoeller: Yes, tours are much easier after your first one. I started this tour understanding how a professional theater company works and especially how to travel with everyone.

BroadwayWorld: Tell me about your role in FINDING NEVERLAND.

Paul Schoeller: I play two roles, George and Peter. George is the oldest boy in the family and he takes the role of man of the house, since his father died. Peter is the second oldest. He has taken his father's death very hard and is grieving. He doesn't play with his brothers at all. He just reads his book.

BroadwayWorld: How did you prepare for your roles?

Paul Schoeller: I practiced my lines with my mom and I had to learn how to play the ukulele. Then I listened to the soundtrack in order to learn the music.

BroadwayWorld: What are some of the challenges of performing in FINDING NEVERLAND?

Paul Schoeller: It is a very physically demanding show as there is a lot more dancing and movement than in THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I have to work out before the show with the other boys so we can be warmed up for the show. I also have to be in command of a dog during the performance. Luckily, he is never difficult because he is always on his A-game. Playing two roles requires more focus than a single role to remember the correct cues for that performance.

BroadwayWorld: What are some of the joys of performing in the musical?

Paul Schoeller: I love getting to perform with such amazingly talented people. They are nice and friendly, making the show fun to perform in. The boys are very talented and I have a great time with my brothers. I love the music of FINDING NEVERLAND, especially my solos in "We're All Made of Stars" (as George) and "When Your Feet Don't Touch the Ground" (as Peter).

FINDING NEVERLAND. Presented by Society for the Performing Arts. April 13-14, 2019 at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. Performance dates and times: 7:30 p.m. on April 13 and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on April 14. (SPA Family Day begins at 11:30 a.m. on April 14 and ends before the 1 p.m. performance.) Ticket prices start at $35.

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