By: Emme Semarjian and Courtney Conrad

With the upcoming production of High School Musical, we would like to take time to recognize the cast members and the things they think you should look forward to! We interviewed two cast members and the director and got the deets about the production on and off the stage.


First Interview: Emma Gerber

What role do you play?

Kelsi Neilsen, a piano player who writes the Musical in high school musical.

How many years have you been acting?

Six years, and her favorite musicals are: HBTI Musicals since fifth grade, US Musicals, Cleveland Opera.

What is your favorite thing about this musical?

There is a great community aspect; we have a huge cast and it’s super fun because everyone knows the music.

Were you a fan of the movie growing up?

Yes, not as big of a fan as everyone else, but definitely a cultural mile stone

In your opinion, what scene should everyone be looking forward to?

Definitely the opening number, Status Quo, and some smaller duets in second act between leads.

Second Interview: Jordan Abrams

What role do you play?

Taylor Mckessie

How many years have you been acting?


What is your favorite thing about this musical?

Definitely the songs, not only the old but the two new songs.

Were you a fan of the movie growing up?

FOR SURE but the second movie is better.

In your opinion, what scene should everyone be looking forward to?

The scene where troy is playing the game, Gabriela is at decathlon, and taylor shuts down everything, also the Bop to the Top scene.

Third Interview: Ms. Webster

How did auditions/casting go? Did you find yourself torn between two actors for the same part?

They were great because for a lot of the athletes it was their first time auditioning, and it was fun to show them what the process is like. We held audition workshops prior to auditions and “show them what to do from etiquette to dances and music.”

In your opinion, what scene should everyone be looking forward to?

Definitely look forward to the iconic music since people are coming for the nostalgia, and the are two numbers that are really fun are “we are in this together” and “start of something new.” It is interesting because the stage vs. movie are not exactly the same, due to a new song because they wanted to be able to include more people and not always just Gabriella and Troy.

How has the process been so far of helping directing such a popular musical such as High School Musical?

It’s been a lot of fun because this music is of the 90’s. At the beginning Ms. Herman and I studied boy bands like Nsync and JT in order to learn how to replace classic theatre music with this pop genre. It feels a lot like a sing a long which makes it hard for the other cast members not to sing the parts they are not supposed to. However, the show is very demanding. We ran all the music in entire show on October 30 and everyone was insanely tired afterwards.

Have you ever seen any of the high school musical movies? If so, which?

Yes I have seen them over and over and over when my daughter was growing up. However, I have not seen the third movie.

Which scene was most fun to direct?

Status Quo because it includes everyone and it is such an iconic scene. Also counting on you because brainiacs and jocks are mad at gabriella and troy, and they are counting on them to help them out and not do the musical.

Do you find it more difficult to direct a musical with the cast mostly girls?

The two boys are incredible!! They are very dedicated and responsible. However, I don’t have much experience with co ed casts, so it’s not different from what I am used to, but it is interesting how the girls adapt so well to male roles.


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