Popovich was a professional actor and director in the Los Angeles theatre scene before coming to the Midwest in 1981. He appeared in and/or directed productions at South Coast Repertory, Cabrillo Playhouse, and Tustin Theatre Guild, and many other SoCal theatres.
He received B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from the California State University and a Secondary Teaching Credential and Community College Teaching Credential from the California State University. He received an M.F.A. in Directing from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the Ohio State University. He has taught secondary school full-time in California, Ohio, and Texas and University and Community College in California, Texas, Ohio and Michigan.
Popovich developed the Associate Arts Degree in Theatre consisting of over 40 new classes at Henry Ford College, and founded The New Playwright’s Workshop, which produces new plays by Michigan playwrights. Popovich’s productions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Macbeth, The Grapes of Wrath, The Tempest, The Skriker and Bug were honored by the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival.
Popovich produced several groundbreaking live theatrical productions using real-time digital scenery, motion capture, and performance capture, and created an entire curriculum for technicians and actors interested in acting for the camera, greenscreen, microphone and motion capture.His virtual reality production of The Tempest was a regional winner at The Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival at Illinois State University. He directed The virtual reality production of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker, which used motion capture technology to create the demonic fairies. He is listed in Who’s Who in America for his pioneering work in digital theatre through The Virtual Theatricality Lab. He was invited to the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival to give a Motion Capture Workshop and won the Michigan Education LAND award for best innovation and the Community College Innovation League Award. He presented several performance capture workshops for The Detroit chapter of The Screen Actors Guild. His Virtual Theatricality Lab was a national finalist for The Bellwether Award.
Popovich’s productions have been featured and reviewed by The Associated Press, The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit Metro Times, Michigan Vue, Marsdust, The News Herald, The Dearborn Press and Guide, The Dearborn Times Herald, Dramabiz, and Encore, Mi. He is a member of the Dearborn Theatre Hall of Fame. He was presented the Artist-Performer Award by the Dearborn Arts Council in 1993.
Popovich’s articles on film, performance theory, and digital theater have appeared in many scholarly journals and his essay on the advanced theoretical applications of computer-generated theatrical scenery were included in Theater and Cyberspace, a book of critical essays. His Virtual Theatricality Lab won national and international recognition. His dissertation on modern science fiction films serves as a reference work for scholars in the United States and in Europe.
Popovich appeared in the feature film Misled in 2013. Popovich’s sold-out production of the 3D children’s show, Dinosaurus! was presented by The Virtual Theatricality Lab in November, 2014. In March of 2015, he was awarded the Dearborn Mayor’s Arts Educator Award. He directed Bug at HFC in 2016. He retired from his full-time position at HFC in May, 2017.
Popovich has been active directing since his retirement. Recent productions include Almost Maine (Community Theatre of Howell), Shakespeare in Love (Peppermint Creek Theatre), Arsenic and Old Lace (Community Theatre of Howell), Sweat (Riverwalk Theatre) and Wait Until Dark (Community Theatre of Howell). Recent film work includes in indie horror film The Frightened President and Skinhead in 2019. Popovich is an avid gardener and is a Master Gardener with Michigan State University’s Extension Program. Recent travel includes Ireland and Eastern Europe.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 has stopped Popovich’s theatrical and travel endeavors.