Review: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL ON STAGE at Dover Area High School

One performance left!

By: Mar. 05, 2023
Review: HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL ON STAGE at Dover Area High School
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The 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical was adapted for the stage and produced for the first time in 2007. High School Musical on Stage has been a popular choice for high schools and community theatres ever since. With its catchy music and strong characters, this show appeals to adults and teens alike. Whether you grew up in a time when high school cliques were stringently defined and crossing between them was forbidden or whether you experienced high school during a time when it was acceptable to just be yourself, High School Musical on Stage is an inspiring story about self-discovery and being true to who we really are. Audiences have one final opportunity to catch this production at Dover Area High School.

The overall production is top-notch. The quality sound design and operation ensures that every single word of the show can be heard and understood and that the balance with the pit orchestra is perfect. The lighting, set, and well-coordinated costumes create an atmosphere that makes the audience feel like they are actually in the high school. The stage crew and production team, including director Jamie Brandstadter, assistant directors Corinne Brown and Sara Behm, vocal director Samantha Roberts, musical director George Bradshaw, choreographer Brady Bennett, technical director Wayne Topper, and stage manager Charles DeLauter, deserve a round of applause for working together with their teams and the cast to stage this fun and inspiring production.

The huge cast includes: Geo Galligani, Leana Huey, Danielle Justh, Natalie Mong, Macey McDowell, Eva Mvula, Ava Perkins, Shaylee Shimmel, Kenzi Myers, Faith Gerdes, Elisee Okenge, Savannah Williar, Bella Lomenzo, Cam Sturgeon, Donte Bennett, Savannah Jackson, Ashlynn Leedy, Siena Potts, Sanyah Roloson, Jaylen Morris, Meredith Sefchick, Phoenix Calhoun, Katie Kwiatkowski, Kayla Mabeus, Michael Surynt, Emma Smith, Allison Steininger, Alaina Harlacher, Bailey Lebo, Isabella Hamm, Liv Ryan, Ava Milano-Hake, Bella Keister, Anastasia Feeheley, Lindsey Wheelr, Anna Daucheux, Luy Presswood, Julia Smith, Olivia Taughinbaugh, Bella Lomenzo, Zoe Miller, Jade Schoene, Sam Julius, Marie Eckrote, Faith Dacheux, Keely Ewing, Kirsten Floyd, Samantha Kasumba, Sierra Kasumba, Elijah Long, Lauren Stough, Bobby Repp, Grace Carpenter, Kylie Snelbaker, Hunter Golder, Jensen Glatfelter, Kaylen Floyd, Anna Herndon, Caitlyn Laird, Carter Gregoire, Clare Mailey, Ember Cousins, Drew Moyer, Caleb Cothran, and Bronson Link. These students portray basketball players (Ballers), the smart kids (Brainiacs), cheerleaders, color guard, majorettes, theatre kids (Thespians), skater dudes, and others. Amazingly, this large cast is able to execute their choreography and blocking with wonderful precision. Every single actor enters the stage with energy and passion, bringing the student body of East High to life.

Herndon, Link, and Mabeus give strong performances as the adult characters in the show, using their stage presence to take on the appropriate air of authority for high school teachers. Cousins takes on the role of Jack Scott, the school radio announcer, with wonderful comedic timing and line delivery that make Jack Scott a crowd favorite. Gregoire is delightful as Zeke, the basketball player who wants to bake and has a crush on Sharpay. The audience cannot help but cheer Zeke on because Gregoire's performance is so heartfelt and relatable. Gregoire, Mailey, and Okenge deserve special mention for their performances in "Stick to the Status Quo" when their characters announce that they wish they could be more than what their cliques dictate.

Glatfelter and Laird bring basketball player Chad and brainiac Taylor to life. Their characters go through a remarkable arc as they first plot to keep Troy and Gabriella away from the musical and then plot together to help them get to their audition and to be who they really are. Glatfelter and Laird handle the transformation of their characters quite well. Snelbaker and Golder take on the roles of twins Sharpay and Ryan Evans. Snelbaker gives the audience the character that they will love to hate and will later learn to love. Snelbaker's Sharpay is overflowing with a self-confidence that the audience later learns really hides her insecurity and vulnerability. Golder is phenomenal as Ryan-in many ways Golder's performance makes Ryan one of the most real characters in the show, as the audience sees how he is kept under his sister's thumb until he begins to stand up for himself and for others. One of this reviewers favorite performances of the day was from Kaylen Floyd as Kelsi Nelson. Not only does Floyd portray Kelsi as genuine, passionate, and dedicated, but she also gives a wonderful performance on keyboard on stage in real time. Repp and Carpenter are adorable as Troy, the basketball player who yearns to just be himself, and Gabriella, the new girl who was always teased for her smarts. The harmonies between Repp and Carpenter are lovely, particularly on "What I've Been Looking For (Reprise)" and "I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You". These songs also highlight Carpenter's wide vocal range and Repp's beautiful falsetto.

The entire cast comes together to draw the audience in and to create a genuine and inspiring production. This review would not be complete without mentioning the performance of the pit orchestra, which was spot-on throughout the show, as well as the incredible dancing. The cast executed the choreography beautifully, creating stunning visual scenes, particularly in "Get'cha Head in the Game" and "We're All in This Together (Reprise)".

Even if you don't have an opportunity to see this particular production before it closes, mark your calendars for Dover Area High School's musical production next year-it's sure to be worth it!


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