‘High School Musical’ to rock Parkrose

See student actors prepare for their in the Parkrose Thespians production of ‘High School Musical’, opening early in November …

In the “hallway”, these student actors of High School Musical demonstrate “school spirit”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A show likely to catch the interest of young and family audiences is coming to the Parkrose High School (PHS) Theater, when Disney’s High School Musical opens on the evening of November 12.

Parkrose High School Thespian Troupe #1783, supported by 58 actors, musicians, singers, and dancers, will bring the 2006 American teen/romantic comedy musical movie to life on the stage.

PHS student actor Matthew Mazon (playing the popular Troy Bolton, captain of the varsity basketball team) shoots hoops Alex Troung (as Troy’s buddy, Zeke Baylor) and Tony Paez (as friend Chad Danforth).

About the story
Globally, High School Musical has been seen by over 225 million viewers

Often described as a modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, High School Musical focuses on two high school juniors from rival cliques. Together, they try out for the lead parts in their high school musical, and as a result, divide the school.

“This is a story about breaking down barriers,” said PHS Theater Instructor and the show’s director, Tom Cavanaugh. “It’s about not being afraid to be yourself and do the things you actually enjoy – and not only the things in you’re ‘supposed to do’ according to your friends in high school. It’s about embracing it all.”

Parris Le (playing lively theater student Sharpay Evans) performs with her twin brother, Ryan Evans, (played by Kai Fiser).

They selected this play, Cavanaugh told East Portland News, because it’s a current, fun show. “And, we our aim was getting students involved in theater, who have never been involved in theater before.”

Apparently, getting a role in High School Musical struck a responsive chord; nearly 70 students auditioned for the show. “I believed it would appeal to a broader scope of our students. I’ve had football players tell me if it weren’t for their sports season; they’d be auditioning for the show.”

All of the PHS performing arts instructors are involved in the production, Cavanaugh remarked – including Choir Director Lesley Bossert coaching singers, and playing piano in the orchestra pit. And, as in the successful production of “Beauty and the Beast” last year, Band Director Keija Lee will serve as conductor for the show.

“In addition to our student musicians, three PHS alumni will be coming back to do the production with us,” Cavanaugh said.

Characters Ryan Evans and sister Sharpay Evans work on a song, bossing around pianist Leah Coyle (as Kelsi Nielsen) while school sports star Troy Bolton and Sarah Tran (playing Gabriella Montez, who has developed a crush on Troy) looks on.

Opens November 12
Plan now to come see High School Musical when the curtain rises at 7:00 p.m. on opening night, November 12. It continues on the evenings of November 12, 13 and 14.

The following weekend, there’s a 7:00 p.m. performance on November 20. On November 21, both a matinee show at 2:00 p.m., as well as their final performance at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets: $7 Adults | $5 Students with ID/Seniors. Tickets are available at the door.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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