By: Audrianna Imka

Disney’s High School Musical. Watching it is a rite of passage for any millennial. It was the rage of the 2000s, and now it’s made its way onto the stage of our very own school.

Self-proclaimed bookworm Gabriella Montez is a new student at East High School. She joins the school after winter break, during which she went on a ski trip and developed an instant connection with a boy named Troy. On the first day back at school, Gabriella and basketball star Troy discover that they have reunited again. Gabriella makes the spontaneous decision to audition for the school musical, and Troy jumps in as her singing partner. The musical centers around the cliques of high school, as thespian twin siblings Sharpay and Ryan do everything in their power to prevent Gabriella and Troy from attending their callback. Will Gabriella and Troy convince their fellow students to step outside of their cliques, or will they be forced to remain silent in the end?

In 2007, the famous Disney movie was adapted into a live musical, titled “High School Musical on Stage!” After working hard for nearly three months, HB’s cast and crew of High School Musical took to the stage on Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18. As a freshman who is fairly experienced in the ways of musical theatre, I am here to share with you my experience being a member of the cast of my first HB Upper School performance!

I am preparing for any pending verbal attacks which may be coming my way after making this following statement: I have never, in fact, seen High School Musical. I was but a wee infant when the movie was released, and I guess I just never got around to watching any more than the first 20 minutes of the show. In mid-September, I made the decision to audition for High School Musical. I did not share the same bubbling excitement carried by many other members of the Upper School whose childhoods were shaped by this movie and its (too numerous) sequels. However, once I began learning the energetic choreography and songs for the musical, I fell in love, and I haven’t been able to stop singing the songs since.

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the hard work put in by all members of the cast of High School Musical. Whether you were a member of the ensemble or one of the principal characters, each one of us dedicated countless hours to the rehearsal process, and in the process, lost countless hours of sleep. Many of us have been at school every day for the past 14 days. Every. Single. Day. I can genuinely say that is something that no teenager should have to endure. We guzzled throat coat and tossed cough drops and mascara around like candy. But it was all worth it at the end when we got to see the young kids dancing in the aisles and the teenagers standing up in the balcony. Although it is quite difficult to illustrate a musical theatre performance using words, if you were unable to make it to any of the shows, I will tell you this: odds are, you would have struggled to keep yourself from stomping along to the beat of Get’cha Head In The Game or singing along to We’re All in This Together.

On the night of our final performance, the entire cast stayed at school until 7:00 pm to strike the set. When I say strike the set, I mean literally take apart the entire set. We inventoried the costumes, organized the props (which included a slew of items covered in shaving cream), and took apart the wooden platforms with power drills. This process may or may not have consisted of multiple people running into walls, poles, and almost falling down the stairs. While eating dinner (shoutout to the awesome parents who brought in food for us!), we all went around the family-style table to share our favorite part of the show. Although this may be redundant for any members of the cast, I would like to share mine with you.

I have participated in many musical theatre productions in the past, and never have I encountered a group who has as much enthusiasm for the show as this group did. Everyone was there because they wanted to be, rather than because they had to fulfill an extracurricular requirement. Not a single day went by in which we did not break into song, my favorites including beatboxing to Ave Maria and the Bounce song. Although I had to miss the first month of rehearsal due to cross country, the cast welcomed me with open arms and did not hesitate to help me catch up on what I missed. This show was incredibly fun to perform, as rather than focusing on making my movements crisp, pointing my toes, and annunciating my vowels, I was able to take in the atmosphere created by the enthusiastic audience and truly be in the moment onstage.

I truly cannot put into words the excitement I had throughout this entire process, the amount of fun I had on stage, the nostalgia that I already feel for this show. We all built an amazing community of people, and in the words of one of my fellow cast members, “I’ll actually wave and smile at you guys in the hallway instead of looking down now.” Dare I say that we’re all in this together?