For Alex Brightman, School
is a marathon effort.
The musical, adapted from Richard Linklater
film about Dewey, an aspiring rock singer who takes on a substitute teaching
position at a children’s prep school, doesn’t let the Broadway actor stand in
one place as he channels Jack Black’s maniacal energy
onstage and introduces
classic rock music to a new generation of kids (both on and offstage).
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“We tracked that on average, I run about 3.5 miles a show,”
Brightman, who earned a Tony nomination
for the role, tells ET about wearing a
Fitbit during three shows to calculate just how much he’s running around the
stage. “It’s quite a marathon.”
And the effort is visible, as Brightman sweats (with a
smile) throughout the performance and continues to shed weight -- according to
him, a pound a day -- from his doughy physique. “At some point, I started
looking skinny and fit,” Brightman says of his appearance, which initially was
a choice to personify the character’s laziness. But now, with the producers’
blessing, he’s stopped trying to maintain the weight. “They would rather me be
able to do the show healthier than look bigger, because truly it doesn’t
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What does matter is leaving it all out onstage, especially
for the young performers who can’t seem to contain their energy, even during intermission.
“I wish they could have a camera backstage. They don't
stop,” Brightman says of his multi-talented co-stars
, who perform their own
instruments onstage in addition to acting and dancing in the show. “They’re so
full of energy. At first, I was like, ‘Guys, you have to harness that’ and
trying to mentor them in ways of conserving their energy. But at some point, I
was like, why would you ever stifle that? It’s pure creative energy.”
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With that much energy going into the show, which features a
mini-rock concert at the end of the performance, it’s any wonder Brightman
still is much of a morning person. “It’s the weirdest combination of exhausted
and wired,” he explains. “You’re wired because you just did a show. But with
this one, you just did a show and you also did a rock concert. Your brain is
going, ‘OK, where is the after-party?’”