Disney's High School Musical
by Boulder Dinner Theatre Academy

You would have to be living under a rock to not be familiar by now with Disney’s “High School Musical” and all of its popularity. The Disney channel original movie took even Disney by surprise with its phenomenal success, and now, with a sequel and enough merchandising to take your school supply lists into the stratosphere, there is a stage version. Boulder Dinner Theatre Academy presented the one act version of the show in a 3 week summer camp style class.

The story centers around two would-be teens in love, Troy Bolton & Gabriella Montez. Gabriella is a brainiac and Troy, a jock. They can sing and enjoy each other’s company, but Gabriella is begged to be part of the science decathlon and Troy is a hoops star. To complicate matters, there is the basketball coach with a championship title hanging in the balance (conveniently, he is also Troy’s dad). Rounding out the story and keeping our heroes apart are Chad Danforth and Taylor McKessie, lead members of Troy and Gabriella’s cliques. Kelsi Neilson is the first time composer of the school’s musical. And then, there are the infamous twins Sharpay and Ryan Evans, the lead thespians at East High. Thankfully for Troy and Gabriella, they are both talented singers and their crazy drama teacher brings them together as stars in the school’s high school musical.

The story is almost silly in its simplistic nature. What really appeals in “High School Musical- on Stage” is the energy of young voices a good choreography. The songs are infectious and rapid-fire. What is more fun than kids singing, dancing, smiling and clearly having the time of their lives? Nothing.

Boulder’s Dinner Theatre is a Colorado institution and directors of the Academy Scott and Joanie Beyette are clearly dedicated to its success and mission. A long dedication by Mr. Beyette at the opening of the show showed that there were many, many people responsible for the production. The cast appears to be very tight knit and clearly enjoyed working together. The minimal sets were very effective and the costuming worked just fine for a show set in a high school of today.

Troy Bolton is played here by A.J. Berge, a 13 year old triumph of a young man (any guy this age who kisses on a girl on stage with that confidence is going places!). With an engaging singing voice, it will be fun to watch this young actor grow into larger roles. Gabriella is played by Anna Hanson in a likeable performance with just enough sweetness. Chad and Taylor are well played here by 2 of the ensemble’s stronger actors Tony Klava and Janelle Orsborn. The production enjoys a solid Kelsi with talented Kate Dolph in the role. Lauren Kittleman played Jackie Scott in the double cast role of East High’s golden voiced DJ. Other notable performances were given by Zach Strand as Zeke, Bailey Spicer as hip-hopper Martha Cox, and Brandon Lopez as Ripper.

Coach Bolton & Ms. Darbus are played by teens in the Academy’s production, a choice that was really pulled off well by Ethan Hobson, looking stern and dad-like throughout and Colleen Atcheson, perfectly kooky as Darbus the Deranged.

Clearly in charge of many of the musical numbers are Daniel Irwin and Olyvia Beyette as Ryan and Sharpay. They worked well together. Beyette’s costumes are a hoot and she is wonderful as the gal we love to hate. One of the best moments in the show comes as Zeke inadvertently dumps a pie all over Sharpay, and Beyette actually let it happen for each performance. Strand’s Zeke ran all over the theater before the pie was really spilled, gaining huge anticipation for the moment from the audience. Watching her try to get whipped cream out of her hair as the show went on was one of the show’s more entertaining moments.

The show, with musical direction by BDT great Barb Reeves, was assisted by some very strong group singing, especially for the finale, “We’re All in This Together”. Choreography by Brian Jackson was enjoyable for everyone, including the “non-dancers” in the group. They made it look coordinated and easy.

BDT Academy deserves kudos for tackling not only the large-cast “High School Musical” this summer, but also holding classes in a variety of disciplines throughout the student’s camp time. It was a lot to pack in for 3 weeks. Cast member Janelle Orsborn (Taylor McKessie) reported that they learned a lot and it seems everyone enjoyed bopping to the proverbial top this summer.

Performed July 27 and 28, 2007.

Tammy Franklin
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

The Jocks
Troy Bolton- AJ Berge
Chad Danforth- Tony Klava
Zeke Baylor- Zach Strand
Jason- Abe Vasquez
Other Jock- Brandon Lopez
Sharpay Evans- Olyvia Beyette
Ryan Evans- Danny Irwin
James- Abe Vasquez
Susan- Carly Veum
Cathy- Hayley Musial
Cyndra- Caty Wilcox
Gabriella Montez- Anna Hanson
Taylor McKessie- Janelle Orsborn
Martha Cox- Bailey Spicer
Kratnoff- Amy Fuhrman
Other Brainiacs-
Amber Falcon
Anne Caroline Franklin
Amber Bessera
Desiree Garneau
Madison Kois
Melissa Pellman
Caterina Zischke-Rincon
Skater Dudes
Ripper- Brandon Lopez
Mongo- Karissa Borostyan
Other Skaters-
Jayde Hudgens
Darcy Freund
Lauren Kittelman
Natalie Kahn
Alyssa Rehder
Jack Scott (Friday)- Sam Goldner
Jackie Scott (Saturday)- Lauren Kittelman
Kelsi Neilson- Kate Dolph
Wildcat Cheerleaders-
Sammy Landis
Gloria Fuhrman
Kelsey Perkins
Rachel Haltman
Kendall Douglass
Ms. Darbus- Colleen Atcheson
Coach Bolton- Ethan Hobson
Ms. Tenny / Moderator- Caterina Zischke-Rincon

Director- Scott Beyette
Music Director- Barb Reeves
Choreographer- Brain Jackson
Set Designer- Scott Beyette
Costume Designer- Linda Morken
Lighting Designer- Brian Jackson
Sound Designer- Wayne Kennedy, Meghan Larimore
Properties- Joanie Beyette
Special Instruction- Brandon Dill, Joanie Beyette, Stephen Bertles, Mitch Samu, Kristen Samu
Business Manager- Carrie Hausfather


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