Michael Lepore ’20 started this spring semester with a full course schedule, a prominent role in the Shakespeare Festival, and a number of extracurricular obligations.
Two weeks after the start of classes, his life was joyfully upended when an open audition in New York City led to his being cast in the Broadway musical Sing Street.
Lepore is understudying two principal roles and two featured parts. He’ll be on call every day, prepared to perform any one of the four roles, each of which requires him speak with a heavy Irish dialect and play several different instruments, including acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and piano.
Fortunately, Lepore is used to juggling. He entered Hofstra from Trumbull, CT, as a computer science major who hoped to act in drama productions “on the side. Not all colleges will allow you to do that,” he said. “That was one of my biggest reasons for choosing Hofstra.” But what started as a hobby soon became a double major. Later, Lepore added a musical theater minor.
Though Hofstra audiences may best remember Lepore in leading roles in Hair and Legally Blonde, his favorite stage experience was his first. The dark comedy Dog Sees God is an imagining of Peanuts-like characters as degenerate teenagers.
Lepore played “Beethoven,” a piano-playing outcast struggling with an abusive past and confusion about his sexuality. “A lot of the heaviness of the storytelling fell on my character,” he said, “It helped me make the transition from the high school stage to college. And it prepared me for all of the wonderful acting opportunities that came after.”
While Lepore spends a lot of his time honing his musical theater craft, but he has been just as dedicated to his studies in computer science.
“I didn’t major in computer science as a safety net,” he said. “I grew up fascinated by technology and coding. I also enjoy teaching it.” For more than a year, Lepore has spent time teaching coding to children at the Progressive School of Long Island in North Merrick and theCoderSchool in Roslyn.
Now, he’s putting his studies on hold to accommodate Sing Street’s grueling rehearsal and performance schedule. “Michael is an incredibly hard worker but also a truly intuitive actor,” said Drama Professor Cindy Rosenthal, who directed Lepore in Hair in 2017. “He’s at least a ‘quadruple threat.’ Not only does he sing, dance and act, he also plays guitar and piano really well. Even as a sophomore, he was a true leader of our Hair tribe.”
Starting this month, Lepore goes into rehearsal six days a week until Sing Street’s March 26 premiere at the Lyceum Theater on West 45th Street in Manhattan. He already knows one person on the production – assistant stage manager Noah Silva ’16. The two have worked together in New York City before, on the original musical Bright and Brave, written by Silva and fellow Hofstra alumni Jack Saleeby and Peter Charney.