Photo by Chris Bennion
High School Musical fever has swept the nation. Since its first appearance in January, 2006, the Disney Channel Original Movie has enjoyed outrageous amounts of success. Maybe you love the movie, maybe you hate it, or perhaps you’ve never watched it. Whatever your position, Seattle Children’s Theatre is bringing you a stage-adaptation of the movie that has everyone singing. It’s directed by Linda Hartzell, choreographed by Kathryn Van Meter, and musically directed by Mark Rabe. It features about 30 talented actors, the largest cast Seattle Children’s Theater has ever used.
The stage play has the same plot as the movie. Troy and Gabriella are from opposite ends of the high school spectrum. He’s the star of the basketball team; she’s the A+ student. A love of singing brings them together unexpectedly, and soon they find themselves auditioning for the school musical, much to the displeasure of the “popular” Sharpay Evans and her brother Ryan. These two do everything they can to stop Troy and Gabriella from breaking the status quo. In the end, however, the whole school learns the importance of doing what they love and breaking out of their stereotypes.
For those who love the movie, this stage production has the catchy music, fun choreography, colorful set, and energetic cast. The song “Get’cha Head in the Game” has the basketball dance break, and the finale is just as exhilarating as the one on film. All the main characters are there with similar costumes and lines. This production includes favorite scenes from the movie like Troy and Gabriella’s cute karaoke meeting and Sharpay and Ryan’s hilariously over-the-top audition.
What if you thought the movie was cheesy? Well, this show definitely tones that down. All the singing is real, with no computer tweaking or lip-syncing. Writers of the stage version transformed Gabriella’s music-video-esque “When There Was Me and You” into a subtle, sweet duet with Troy. A new character named Jack Scott gives humorous comments on characters’ actions throughout the show. Effective lighting and sets create a more whimsical, “this is theater, not a movie” environment.
Jason Kappus’ performance as Troy and Khanh Doan’s portrayal of Sharpay were quite different from the movie. Kappus looked a bit old and Doan’s voice was lower than what I was expecting. They both lacked some of the energy displayed by the rest of the cast. Kasey Nusbickel gave a lovely performance as Gabriella. Don Darryl Rivera played Ryan Evans and was by far my favorite character. He stole the show with his hilarity and panache. Timothy Wilson also gave a standout performance as Zeke Baylor, the jock who confesses a love for baking. Though the leads are strong, make an effort to glance past them and you’ll see an incredible ensemble. This group of talented actors even includes some highschoolers. Throughout the show they hit every note and nail every dance step, all with huge, genuine smiles on their faces.
Overall, the show was quite entertaining. Troy and Gabriella’s voices blended beautifully during their duets, and the ensemble songs were fun and energetic. As an audience member, prepare to encounter lots of small children, complete with high pitched “When’s it gonna start?” comments. Once the curtain opens, though, they make for an enthusiastic crowd. Also, the detention and audition scenes in Act I are a bit confusing. Other than those two moments, the show is a complete success. From the opening “Wildcat Cheer” to the finale “We’re All in This Together,” High School Musical will have your undivided attention. It will wake you up, cheer you up, and just might make you leave the theater dancing.
Jennifer K., age 17
September 28th, 2007
Disney's High School Musical
Seattle Children's Theatre
Through November 24th
More info and show times: www.sct.org
SCT’s Ticket Office: 206-441-3322
Ticket Office Hours: Friday 9 a.m. – show time, Saturday 10 a.m. – show time, Sunday noon – show time
Note: This extremely popular production is expected to sell out many performances. You are strongly encouraged to call the box office before going to theatre to ask whether or not they expect to have Teen Tix tickets available for the show that you wish to attend.
Seattle Children's Theatre is located at the West entrance to Seattle Center, just north of Pacific Science Center and West of the Space Needle. It is served by buses 1, 13, 15, 18, 19, 24 and 33. For bus times: tripplanner.metrokc.gov