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Review

Disney's High School Musical
by Young Actors Theatre

The wildly popular Disney movie High School Musical is now available live on stage. And in Young Actors’ Theatre’s production, Director Jean Isaac begins the show by having her younger ensemble decide to spend the afternoon popping in a DVD of their favorite Disney movie, which in turn starts the play as the kids watch on from along the sides of the theatre.

The story follows a guy and girl from different cliques falling for each other. Troy is the star basketball player. Gabriella is a math wiz. Their respective cliques of jocks and brainiacs try to keep them apart. But can their unlikely participation in the upcoming school musical bring them, and all the other cliques, together?

Donovan Hurst stars as Troy who both sings and handles the basketball very well. Stephanie Schmidt plays Gabriella with a smart, sweet, confident but not overly confident style. Together they share a couple nice duets including I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You and Start of Something New.

The efforts to tear them apart are led by their best friends, jock Chad and brainiac Taylor, here played with good personality by talented real-life brother-and-sister duo Andrew and Anne Squier. More than happy to help in those efforts are the talented stage-life brother-and-sister duo – the outrageous twins Sharpay and Ryan – prima donna thespians who dominate the school drama club. Megan Martin looks, acts, and walks like the conceited, conniving villain that you love to hate, and Seejay Lewis is a riot as her 8-minute-younger brother who tries his best to follow his elder sister’s lead – to a point. Both use great body language throughout, and they razzle dazzle in their hilarious duets including What I’ve Been Looking For filled with the hip and funny choreography of Sarah Roberts.

Other standouts include last-minute addition Ian Lewis who creates a most memorable school radio announcer as Jack Scott (aka The Velvet Fog of East High), a nerd who grows cool when he gets on the microphone, starting each announcement with a unique way of getting himself in the mood. The microphone also gives him a way of announcing his big crush on the clutzy, modest student playwright Kelsi (Juliann Friel). Adult actors Melissa Hurst and Jeff Isaac portray the competing teachers of basketball and drama who are both more than a little lost in their own respective worlds.

Young Actors put this show up on the large stage at La Jolla’s Sherwood Auditorium, and the cast worked through some early opening night sound problems to deliver some high-energy musical numbers like Breaking Free and the show’s biggest hit – We’re All in This Together. The younger cast is nicely woven into the show between the two acts, with nine-year-old Kenzie Wallace and eleven-year-old Danny Drysdale playing Mini-Me versions of Gabriella and Troy in Start of Something New, while fifth-grader Brooke Laver and sixth-grader Corey Hable do a Ryan-and-Sharpay replay of What I’ve Been Looking For, all done with great poise and style. The whole cast gives us a remix of the show to send us off with a big finale of the catchy pop tunes that will continue to remix in your head for hours to come.

Performed March 15-25, 2007.

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~

Troy: Donovan Hurst
Gabriella: Stephanie Schmidt
Ryan: Seejay Lewis
Sharpay: Megan Martin
Chad: Andrew Squier
Taylor: Anne Squier
Zeke: Alex Sanchez
Martha: Jessica Isaac
Jack Scott: Ian Lewis
Kelsi: Juliann Friel
Coach Bolton: Jeff Isaac
Ms. Darbus: Melissa Hurst

Brainiacs:
Jean Caliso
Amanda Friel
Jacob Gardenswartz
Rachel Hansen
Jessica Isaac
Emily La Fargue
Elyse La Fargue
Sydney Schumsky
Anne Squier

Jocks:
Rickey Calixto
Dominic Capoocia
Marc Caro
Tanner Knorr
Marcos Melero
Alex Sanchez
Andrew Squier

Cheerleaders:
Kaylyn Hopkins
Lauren Krieger
Danielle Madsen
Emily Mathison
Sarah Mathison
Chelsea Mullen
Kaleo Ruggiero-Orban
Kara Zimmer

ASB:
Hope Brown
Lenora Dougherty
Megan Green
Katie Kern
Whitney Lamb
Isabella Lenhoff
Dominique Madsen
Crystal McClellan

Thespians:
Hope Brown
Jean Caliso
Rickey Calixto
Dominic Capoocia
Rebecca Espinoza
Danae Goward
Rachel Hansen
Bristyl Hartwell
Marcos Melero
Megan Moller
Beth Mullert
Alyssa Reinicke
Chloe Turenne des Pres

Skater Dudes & Gals:
Tanner Knorr
Marcos Melero
Sara Hansen
Emily Greenblatt
Chloe Turenne des Pres
Alyssa Reinicke

Juniors:
Josh: Danny Drysdale
Jonathan: Corey Hable
Molly: Sierra Goldstein
Blake: Julian Turenne des Pres
Jake: Robbie Squier
Faith: Sophia Gardenswartz
Claire: Sydney Moen
Monica: Kenzie Wallace
Georgina: Brooke Laver
Jade: Katee Drysdale
Gracie: Kristina Pena
Lizzie: Samantha Moen
Lisa: Alex Cohen
Jen: Breanna Stolnack

Director: Jean M. Isaac
Musical Director: Shane Simmons
Choreographer: Sarah Roberts
Costume Designer: Terri Martin
Lighting Designer: Chris Martin
Sound: Samantha Mandel

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