Bohmer, Schwartz, Etc. Set for High School Musical Tour

Casting has been announced for the new touring stage version of High School Musical which will play Chicago's LaSalle Bank Theatre (18 W. Monroe St.) for a limited engagement, July 25 - September 2, 2007.  Presented by Disney Theatrical Productions, High School Musical is based on the 2006 Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie. 

This new touring stage adaptation of the movie will be directed by Jeff Calhoun (Big River). The musical features a book by David Simpatico (adapted from the original movie script by Peter Barsocchini), and a score including all the songs from the original soundtrack plus two new songs.  The touring company includes a live orchestra and a cast of 35 talented theatrical performers.  

The basketball team captain, "Troy Bolton," will be played by John Jeffrey Martin, whose Broadway credits include Rocky Horror Show, Hairspray and Good Vibrations.  Starring opposite Martin as the shy, academic student "Gabriella Montez" will be Arielle Jacobs, theatre credits include Crazy for You, A Chorus Line and Cinderalla, and her film credits include The Stepford Wives and Water Lilies.

Troy's best friend, "Chad Danforth," will be played by Shakiem Evans who most recently appeared as "Eddie" in Broadway's Mamma Mia!   "Taylor McKessie," the leader of the "brainiacs" at East High School, will be played by Shaullanda LaCombe, who was seen as "Shenzi" in Disney's The Lion King and "Charlane" in Ain't Misbehavin.'  Bobby List will play Drama Club enthusiast and brother of Sharpay, "Ryan Evans;" List played opposite Debby Boone in The Human Comedy at Barrington Stage and in The 60's Project at the Goodspeed Opera House.  Young composer "Kelsi Neilson" will be portrayed by Olivia Oguma, who has appeared on Broadway in Mamma Mia! and Les Miserables and Off-Broadway in Sarah, Plain and Tall, La Dispute and The Scarlet Letter.  The scheming Drama Club president, "Sharpay Evans," will be played by Chandra Lee Schwartz, who appeared in the Broadway productions of Gypsy and Hairspray as well a the first national tour of Hairspray.   

Veteran actor Ron Bohmer will portray Troy's father and Wildcat's basketball coach, "Coach Bolton." Bohmer is known for his Broadway and National tour credits including The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Phantom of the Opera, The Woman in White, Aspects of Love, Fiddler on the Roof and Sunset Boulevard.  Ellen Harvey is the drama teacher "Ms. Darbus." Harvey's Broadway credits include Thou Shalt Not and The Music Man, and her touring credits include Mamma Mia! and Doctor Dolittle

Disney's High School Musical is "a contemporary musical comedy about a popular high school basketball star and a shy, academically gifted newcomer who discover they share a secret passion for singing.  When they sign up together to audition for the lead roles in the school musical, it threatens East High's rigid social order and sends their peers into an uproar.  In a desperate effort to maintain the status quo, the 'jocks,' the 'brainiacs' and even the drama club regulars are soon hatching convoluted plots to separate the pair and keep them offstage.  By defying expectations and taking a chance on their dreams, however, the couple inspires other students to go public with some surprising hidden talents of their own," as described in press materials.

The creative team, in addition to aforementioned director Calhoun, will be choreographer Lisa Stevens, scenic designer Kenneth Foy, costume designer Wade Laboissonniere, lighting designer Kenneth Billington, sound designer Duncan Robert Edwards and music supervisor Bryan Louiselle.

"High School Musical" premiered on Disney Channel U.S. on January 20, 2006 and posted the highest ratings for a Disney Channel Original Movie up until that time.  It went on to become a smash hit internationally and, in 2006, aired on 26 Disney Channels and free-to-air broadcasters worldwide, reaching over 100 million viewers in over 100 countries.   It was also the first TV movie to be offered on the iTunes Music Store.  "High School Musical" delivered the #1 album of 2006, the year's #1 TV movie on DVD, licensed amateur and professional touring stage productions, a best-selling junior novel, a popular consumer products franchise at mass retailers, a themed show at Disneyland Parks and Resorts in Anaheim, Orlando and soon, Paris, a sold-out 42 date arena concert tour in North America and soon, Latin America, starring most of the cast, and a touring ice show premiering in late 2007.  Adding to its success, it won the two Emmy Awards, a DGA Award, Television Critics Association Award, an Imagen Award, a Director's Guild of America Award and a Humanitas Prize nomination.  Its soundtrack received a Billboard Music Award (Soundtrack of the Year) and was nominated for an American Music Award in the Favorite Album (Pop/Rock) category.  Walt Disney Studios announced it will develop a feature film based on the movie for release in 2008.

The show will play Chicago's LaSalle Bank Theatre (18 W. Monroe St.) July 25 through September 2, 2007.  The performance schedule is as follows:  Wednesdays at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. Please note:  There will be added performances on Thursday, July 26 at 2 p.m. and on Tuesday, July 31, Tuesday August 7 and Tuesday, August 28 at 7:30 p.m.  There will NOT be a 2 p.m. performance on Wednesday, July 25 or Wednesday, August 8; or a 6:30 p.m. performance on Sunday, August 5 or Sunday, September 2. 

Tickets range in price from $20 - $78 and will be available at Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (18 W. Monroe St., 24 W. Randolph St. and 151 W. Randolph St.), through the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (312) 902-1400, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers (including Carson Pirie Scott stores, Hot Tix, select Coconuts and fye stores) or online at www.ticketmaster.com.  Groups of 20 or more may receive a discount by calling (312) 977-1710.  For more information, go to www.BroadwayInChicago.com.



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