Students at South Webster High School are gearing up for their performance of High School Musical: On Stage, which premieres Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
The show is based upon the first film in the popular Disney High School Musical franchise. 2016 marks the 10 year anniversary of the film, many of the cast grew up watching the film and singing along to its songs.
The musical centers around basketball team captain and resident jock, Troy Bolton and brainy Gabriella Montez, the pair meet during a ski trip and sing karaoke together, only to part ways thinking they’ll never see each other again. On the first day back in school, Troy discovers that Gabriella has just enrolled at East High. The two cause an upheaval when they decide to audition for the high school musical that is being led by Ms. Darbus, threatening the status quo of high school clique culture.
“I chose this show because we have so many athletes that participate in both sports and our musical program. I couldn’t wait to do the basketball number as a choreographed number in the musical. We just have a lot of strong kids, we’re really excited,” said music teacher Rhonda Mays. “With all the political turmoil and drama going on, it’s a nice pick-me-up. It’s light and it’s fun and people will be able to see the kids at their best. They’ll have a blast.”
Nearly half of the student body is participating, with over 105 students from grades 9-12.
Mays was proud to say that the students have responded well to the show, with so many of them being already familiar with the songs and style of the performance, they’ve been able to feel more confident in their roles.
But that familiarity also poses a challenge.
“So many people and so many kids already know the songs and the subject matter, so there is no room for error. They’re going to have to really knock it out of the park,” said Artistic Director Kate Claxon. “But I think they’re going to be able to do it, they’ve been awesome to work with. I think it’s going to be one of the best shows we’ve ever put on.”
Senior Shane Zimmerman has been involved with the music program all four years, and will be playing lead character Troy Bolton.
For Zimmerman, the challenge lies in separating himself from his character. Zimmerman, like Troy, is a student athlete, who also happens to love musical theatre.
“It’s hard because I’m trying not to act like myself, my character and I are a lot alike,” said Zimmerman.
Senior Caitlyn Hanes will be starring as Gabriella Montez in her first lead role.
Hanes has no worries about her role, and finds it easy to connect with Zimmerman on stage.
“I do see a lot of myself in my character and so does Shane,” said Hanes. “We’re best friends in real life so it’s not been hard to find that chemistry on stage.”
Tickets are $10 for adults $5 for students at the door on the night of the show.
Tickets for the performance on the night of Nov. 11 have already sold out, but tickets for Nov. 12 and 13 are still available. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 and there will be a matinee showing at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13. The performance will be held in the Bloom-Vernon Elementary School, located at 10529 Main Street in South Webster.