Cast Annouced for SF Engagement of 'High School Musical'

Casting has been announced for the San Francisco engagement of Disney's High School Musical playing the Orpheum Theatre April 15-27, 2008. This phenomenally popular stage production is based on the 2006 Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel Original Movie. High School Musical will be a special engagement of the 2007-2008 Citibank Best of Broadway season, under the direction of Carole Shorenstein Hays.

Disney's High School Musical principal cast features basketball team captain, "Troy Bolton," played by John Jeffrey Martin, whose Broadway credits include Rocky Horror Show, Hairspray and Good Vibrations. He is a graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theater.

Starring opposite Martin as the shy, academic student "Gabriella Montez" will be local Bay Area actress Arielle Jacobs, hailing from Half Moon Bay. Jacobs' theater credits include Crazy for You, A Chorus Line and Cinderella, and her film credits include The Stepford Wives and Water Lilies.

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.

Troy's best friend, "Chad Danforth," will be played by Shakiem Evans who most recently appeared as "Eddie" in Broadway's Mamma Mia! Evans' Off-Broadway credits include Two Gentlemen of Verona and Fame and he is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

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.

"Taylor McKessie," the leader of the "brainiacs" at East High School, will be played by Shaullanda LaCombe, who was "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, a recent graduate of the University of Cincinnati – Conservatory of Music, played opposite Debby Boone in The Human Comedy at Barrington Stage and in The 60's Project at the Goodspeed Opera House.

Michael Mahany will introduce audiences to a new character written specifically for the stage production, "Jack Scott," the crooning voice of East High School. Mahany's credits include the Off-Broadway production of Spring Awakening, a reading of Ella Minnow Pea, a workshop of Bill Russell's Mister Fabulous and regional productions of Into the Woods and Annie Get Your Gun.

The 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. Oguma's film credits include Hallmark Hall of Fame's The Flamingo Rising and Strangers with Candy: the movie.

Rounding out the cast, "Zeke Baylor," the basketball player who loves to bake will be portrayed by Ben Thompson, who has appeared in the National Tour of Deaf West's Big River and was last seen in the new musical The Molly Maguires. Lizzie Weiss will play the hip-hop brainiac "Martha Cox." Weiss earned her BA in Theater from the University of California at Irvine, and was an original cast member of the Atlanta Theatre of the Stars production of High School Musical. The scheming Drama Club president, "Sharpay Evans," will be played by Heléne Yorke, who received a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Michigan and appeared in the Off-Broadway production of Walmartopia.

"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," describe press notes.

This new touring stage adaptation of Disney's High School Musical is directed by Jeff Calhoun (Big River). High School 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 written especially for the stage.

Other members of this new touring stage production of High School Musical are 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.

Disney's 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, airing on 27 Disney Channels and free-to-air broadcasters worldwide, thus far reaching over 250 million viewers in over 100 countries including China. 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 Paris, a sold-out 42 date arena concert tour in North America and Latin America and a popular touring ice show around the world.

Adding to its success, High School Musical won 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 among other honors. 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. The critically acclaimed sequel, High School Musical 2, ranks as the #1 basic cable telecast of all time (18.6 million viewers for its August 17, 2007 premiere) and has thus far been seen by 179 million total viewers around the world. That soundtrack is quadruple Platinum in the U.S., triple Platinum in the UK and many more countries and recently won an American Music Award.

Walt Disney Studios will begin production on a feature film based on the movie. Kenny Ortega will direct and choreograph and the original cast will reunite for the film, scheduled for a 2008 release in theatres around the world.

Performances are Tuesdays-Saturdays at 7:30PM; Wednesdays & Saturdays at 2PM and Sundays at 1PM.

Tickets for High School Musical range in price from $23 to $85 with great seats for weeknight performances and premium VIP seating still available. Tickets can be purchased online at shnsf.com, through Ticketmaster by calling (415) 512-7770, at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers and the Orpheum Theatre Box Office (1192 Market at 8th St., Mon-Sat 10am – 6pm). Groups of 15 or more may order now by calling Group Sales at (415) 551-2020. To learn more about High School Musical and other SHN shows, please visit www.shnsf.com



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