Large cast energizes ‘High School Musical’
When Northwestern students first found out “High School Musical” would be produced in early March, they could barely contain their enthusiasm.
“I was thrilled and even more thrilled to get the role of Sharpay Evans, because she has always been my favorite,” Meghan McGorry said. “I think it’s incredible the amount of people that came out for the show.
“When Bill [Mutimer] first announced the show, we were a little bit nervous about how we were going to get all the guys involved. But it’s amazing to see them all come together.”
“The soccer guys and the football players in their senior year, kind of wanted to try out,” said Morgan Moss, who plays Sharpay’s rival, Gabriella Montez. “I’m super impressed on how they look. The dance moves are hard and the songs are, too.”
“I think it’s important for people to explore, especially in a school like Northwestern that’s so small, and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way,” said Ben Fry, who plays a basketball player who steps out of his comfort zone when he tries out for the school play.
The climate at Northwestern allows students to do just that.
“The no cut policy we have here is really awesome and it’s awesome that we have such a large cast,” McGorry said. “[This] is a place where you could really be yourself.”
Some say “High School Musical” is a contemporary adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” in that it revolves around two high school students from competing cliques vying for lead parts in their school play.
When a romance ensues between the competitors, the captain of the basketball team Troy Bolton, played by Fry, and the new girl Montez, played by Moss, chaos erupts among the students.
“She’s very down to earth and sweet,” said Moss, describing her character. “She’s a lot like me, very ambitious and reserved at the same time. She gets along with everyone who isn’t jealous of her.”
Adding insult to injury are the Evans twins, Sharpay, played by McGorry, and Ryan, played by Aaron Green, who do everything in their power to thwart the romance and get the leads themselves.
McGorry describes her character as dramatic and a little bit of a diva and as a princess in her own mind.
Green said his character wants to steal the show because he’s always been Sharpay’s sidekick.
“It’s a very charming story,” Moss said. “The characters are believable as they’re not perfect people.”
These young characters also grapple with challenges that will ultimately have significant implications as they head for adulthood.
Fry said Bolton learns an important lesson in the play.
“I see him as someone who’s always done the same thing his entire life until one winter when he discovers there’s something besides basketball that he might enjoy,” he explained.
Troy steps out of his comfort zone when he tries out for the high school play.
“That applies to all the characters,” said Fry. “They realize they’re not bound to only do what they’re familiar with.”
“‘High School Musical really appeals to our generation,’” Green said. “It came out when we were in elementary school. A lot of us were obsessed with it. I watched it a bunch.
“I got it on DVD. It was one of my favorites.”
Sara Baran, prop manager said the play is popular because it is based on the Disney movie that many people know.
“People like seeing their favorite characters come to life before their eyes, and they also like the catchy songs,” Baran said.
Green said the music is upbeat and fun.
“It’s going to be something everybody is going to know because of how big it was,” Green said.
Both McGorry and Green are particularly familiar with the play.
“I was in it at the JCC in Allentown,” explained Green. “Meghan and I were in it a few years ago.
“There was a huge turnout and I got to work with people from all over, including Allentown and Emmaus. Everybody really liked it.”
Hayden Bobbyn plays Coach Jack Bolton.
“When it was announced, a lot of the teenage girls were freaking out,” said Bobbyn.
“It’s definitely an all-around type of show.”
Moss said “High School Musical” is a good show for a big cast.
“High School Musical” is just a blast no matter how old you are,” Moss added. “We all grew up with this show.
“It was on the Disney Channel all the time.”
Assisting Director Bill Mutimer is choreographer Tina Somes Williams, music director Elizabeth Marsh-Gilkeson, and costumer Jill Danner, among others.
Tom and Sheryl Baran, Chris Madeira, Derek Green, Darin Heckendorn and Jeff Waltman constructed the sets.
“I’m so excited to do this show,” McGorry said. “It will attract a big middle school audience and it’s going to be a great way to end our senior year.”
“High School Musical” will be performed at the middle school 7 p.m. March 1, 2, and 3; and at 2 p.m. March 4.
Doors open a half hour before the show.
Ticket prices are $9 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.
Tickets may be bought online on the school district’s website.
They will also be sold at the door one hour before show time.