#AlternativeFacts Podcast: Introducing 'Pop-Punk High,' the New York City Musical Where 2003 Rages On

Pop Punk High
Joe Walker

The cast of Pop Punk High

You’ve spun Ocean Avenue and Sticks and Stones as much as a well-adjusted human can, and those 10-year anniversary tours are creeping up on sweet sixteens. Fortunately, in the year 2018, there’s a bright new frontier in revitalizing all things early aughts.

Pop Punk High is an independent New York City musical about an Avril Lavigne genie, a skateboarding contest, a battle of the bands and one upstart’s quest to rule a school that’s basically the one from the “I’m Just a Kid” music video.

What’s so special is that these songs are really, really good. Sure they’re part of a play and meant to frame plot and everything, but they hold their own as winking replicas of the rock songs you’d hear crossing over to TRL in the early years of the century. Winking, because they’re slyly aware of the present and how a lot of this stuff has aged. Here’s a sample lyric:

We could join the ranks of pop-punk’s most legendary power couples!/ Like Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory and Hayley Williams from Paramore!/ Like Deryck Whibley from Sum 41 and Avril Lavigne from… Avril Lavigne!/ Like any lead singer from a Warped Tour band and an underage teen!

Previous Episodes: Dashboard Confessional | Jeff Rosenstock | Tonight Alive | Washed Up Emo’s Tom Mullen

On this week’s ‘cast, we chatted with three of Pop Punk High’s core players about the show: director Felicia Lobo, producer Anderson Cook and Ben Lapidus, who wrote the music and lyrics and plays the protagonist, Derek, who's trying to win the love of Pop Punk High heartthrob Amanda Bunkface (if you caught that reference, go see this right now). "The ethos of pop-punk and the whole culture of it, there’s so much comedy there to be exploited," Lapidus says. Adds Lobo, "All of the performances are insanely over the top. What we’ve asked these poor actors to do on a Thursday night is pretty out of control." 

For a taste of the mall-punk hilarity and a sampling of the tunes, listen to the podcast below:

Pop Punk High played various theaters throughout 2017, most recently the Lower East Side’s Parkside Lounge, where it was re-upped for weekly shows throughout the first two months of this year. “We’re in talks about another extension after this,” Cook says. “Pop Punk High is definitely not dying.” 

The cast and crew are currently working on rewrites and preparing for the show’s next step. In the meantime, there are still two scheduled shows you can catch: Thursday night (Feb. 15) and next Thursday (Feb. 22). For more details, check out Pop Punk High’s official site.


#AlternativeFacts is a weekly Billboard podcast devoted to all things alternative music. Click here to subscribe to the #AlternativeFacts Podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes.