Upper School Production: High School Musical

Upper School Production: High School Musical

Emory Pittman, Print Editor

This past weekend, September 12 and 13, RMA’s high school finally performed Disney’s High School Musical on Stage! after many ups and downs. Originally meant to be the spring musical, the coronavirus caused it to be shut down, and uncertainty began to surround the fate of the show. No one knew if we would even be able to put on the show at all given state restrictions and guidelines. Fortunately, due to the efforts of both the RMA administrative staff and the Dunn Center, the musical was a success after a summer without any rehearsals and just a month to get the show back on track. At each performance, an audience of 25 people was permitted to watch, as long as they wore masks the entire time and were socially distanced. I interviewed some members of the cast and crew to give everyone who could not see the show a glimpse of High School Musical’s long and hard journey, from casting in January all the way to the performances in September!


What was the most challenging part about your role?

Lisa Renee Dudley (Gabriella Montez): “I think the hardest part of my role was that Gabriella is such an iconic character, yet her lines in some scenes are extremely bland, making it difficult to really make her ‘my own.’ It was difficult at first to get into the character; however, I’d like to think the more I rehearsed and ran my lines, it became easier. Also some of Gabriella’s singing notes. Whew.”


Thomas Schenkman (Troy Bolton): “For me, it was pushing myself to make my range higher. I was never able to hit half the notes I can now because of how much I practiced singing.”


What is your favorite memory from putting on High School Musical?

Ezra Moore (Ryan Evans): “When we made a big circle right before the final show, and we got to see just how great of a bond we all had.”


Mary-Edith Cox (Dance Captain/Cheerleader): “Either the first time we practiced at the Dunn Center because it felt ‘real,’ or the day we found out we might not be able to do the show because so many people had to quit, but everyone in the cast was so dedicated to the show and putting on the performance. This cast was the physical version of ‘the show must go on.’ We went through so much stress and hardship and people telling us that it wouldn’t happen, but we still managed to put on a BOMB performance!”


What song got stuck in your head the most?

Sarah Stancavish (Martha Cox): “Counting on You. It’s in my head right now.”


What dance could you do in your sleep, even now that the show is over?

Sarah Wiederhold (Ensemble/Ms. Tenney/Moderator): “We’re All in This Together.”


Virginia Feagans (Ensemble): “Audition Song definitely, and Start of Something New”


What are your tips for surviving those eight-hour rehearsals?

Polly Medlin (Taylor McKessie): “1. Have fun. The cast is your family, so support and laugh with each other. 2. Caffeine. Oh, and don’t stress it, just relax and have a good time.”


Gracie Byrd Tharin (Ms. Darbus): “Support from friends/fellow cast members makes it so worth it! And knowing you will feel so rewarded once it’s over (plus the super good sleep when you get home).”


Which character in the show do you relate to the most, and why?

Charlotte Pittard (Kelsi Nielsen): “I feel like I relate to Ryan Evans the most because of how he becomes more of his own person towards the end of the show. When I first came to RMA in 8th grade, I was so consumed by trying to be like everyone else and following the crowd, but then I realized that I wasn’t happy if I wasn’t being myself. So I took the initiative to stop copying others and focus on developing my OWN character.”


Which moment made you the most proud of everyone in the cast and crew?

Dawn Whitehurst (Director): “It was the day that I had told you guys that we were going to have to shut down the show because we had lost too many cast members and you guys rallied and refused to give up. Which ultimately led to my second favorite moment and that was when the show actually happened and I saw how incredibly great it was.”