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image Tooele High School Theater Department presents “High School Musical.” Opening night is Monday, Feb. 24.

February 20, 2014
Students, faculty will take to the THS stage next week in version of ‘High School Musical’

Students and faculty in Tooele High School’s latest musical are out to prove they’re all in this together.

The Buffalo thespians will present “High School Musical” next week, which is part of an effort to involve more of the school and take a break from heavier drama.

“We just wanted to do something fun and light and we wanted to get more kids involved who want to be in the shows but don’t have as much time,” said THS Drama director Scott Henrie. He noted the school’s previous two productions — “The Elephant Man” and “Big” — were both more dramatically taxing on students.

The stage translation of Disney’s 2006 television hit, about a basketball player and academic decathlete who have to overcome social hurdles to join their school’s elite theater department, keeps basically the same plot and songs, Henrie said. Although some alterations are necessary for the stage and there are a few additional songs in the production, he added.

Although most of the cast is well-versed in the show, Henrie said some aspects have proved to be a little more challenging than originally anticipated.

“It’s harder than it looks. They know the show and they know all the lyrics, but once we started digging into it, the harmonizing, especially on the new songs, they realized it was challenging,” he said. “It’s finally started coming together, but it’s difficult. There’s a reason why in movies about teenagers, the teenagers are usually played by young adults.”

Besides drama students, members of the music department, athletes and cheerleaders have joined the production, Henrie said, and members of the faculty have stepped in to play the roles of teachers and coaches on stage. Although the different groups of students and faculty means having to work around more schedules, and the group has had less than six weeks from audition to final dress rehearsal, Henrie said the experience has been rewarding.

“It’s just fun getting some different kids, getting some interest. It’s been a blast getting it together,” he said. “It’s fun watching the faculty do it, it really is. They’re quite a kick.”

The double-cast production features Brock Egan and Colton Fowler sharing the role of Troy Bolton, and Kat Hawley and Emily Rice portraying Gabriela Montez. Sharpay Evans will be played by Breanna Lyman and Jessica Webber, while Ryan Evans will be played by Isaac Seal and Jacob Vanderwerken. Nick Ellsworth will be handling the role of Chad Danforth, with Airdrie Gillie and Anna McQueen taking on Taylor McKessie.

The role of Ms. Darbus, the drama teacher, will be split between Dawna Belnap, a member of the cafeteria staff, and Marilyn Syra, the school’s band director. The roles of Coach Bolton and the principal will be handled by Kip Bowser, a math and gym teacher, and Ryan Peacock, the THS journalism teacher.

“High School Musical” will open Monday and run through March 1, with a closing performance on March 3. Performances start at 7 p.m. at the THS Auditorium, with an added matinee on March 1 at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens, and $3 for children 10 years and younger. Group rates are available. For more information or to reserve tickets, contact Henrie at 435-833-1978 ext. 2189 or shenrie@tooeleschools.org.

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