A boy who is a star basketball player, and a girl who is an outstanding math and science student, risk going outside these roles to audition for a musical. They face opposition from their friends, from the sister/brother team who run the drama club, from the basketball coach (the boy’s father), and even from their own doubts.
Highlights include “Stick to the Status Quo” and “We’re All in This Together,” both high-energy numbers that involve the entire cast.
Calvin Waddle and Alyssa King carry out the leading roles of Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez with sincerity. Their innocence and vulnerability come across as well as their accomplishments.
Molly Boland as Sharpay Evans, the strong-willed high school diva who has had every lead role since kindergarten, is exceptional. Her facial expressions, posture and movements leave no doubt what she is feeling, or what she is capable of.
Ryan Sudo is a good match as the brother who usually follows Sharpay’s lead but will defy her if necessary.
Watching the two of them dance is another highlight of the show. “Bop to the Top” may not have been the best choice for Ryan and Sharpay to audition for the roles of Romeo and Juliet, but it’s a great way for them to entertain the audience.
Many hours of rehearsing are evident from the way the large cast move about the stage, with everyone in the right place at the right time.
Not just the dancing, but the entire show seems choreographed. Boys dribbling basketballs, girls leading cheers, people climbing onto cafeteria tables—all are part of the fast-moving fun.
The students in supporting roles also deserve mention.
The voice and gestures of Kellie Wambold, as drama coach Ms. Darbus, contribute much to the tension and the humor. Both Wambold and Matt Vincent, who plays Troy’s father, do an excellent job portraying adults.
Bethany Lor is Kelsi Neilson, the piano-playing song writer who helps Troy and Gabriella prepare for their call-back.
The scene with the three of them at the piano is very touching, as the piano accompanies the duet with grace.
The band is just what a production like this needs, and the set design, with balconies and stairs, also helps the play succeed.
Troy’s basketball friends Zach Marleau and Nate Brown, and Gabriella’s studious friends Kelsey Sarver and Tasha Montzka, are fun to watch, whether they are trying to thwart the couple or help them.
The themes of this show ring true. Teens do segregate into groups. It can be hard to go against friends. Teachers and parents are sometimes part of the problem.
So this is a good show for parents to bring their elementary and junior high kids to: Come for the entertainment; start a conversation on the ride home.
There are only three shows left. The show can be seen at the Forest Lake High School auditorium at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8 to 10.
General admission tickets at the door cost $4 for students and seniors and $6 for adults.
Reserved tickets cost $10. Call 651-982-8476 to reserve a prime spot in the center section.