By Hannah Curran, Editor
LEEDS — The Leeds Arts Council is taking the stage by storm with their performance of High School Musical, but do not think this is just like any other performance because the talented group of young adults is refusing to stick to the status quo.
Victoria Boyce, director and choreographer of High School Musical, with the help of assistant director Jon McClaran, put together a performance that was like no other.
“They knocked it out of the park,” Boyce said. “There were still some hiccups, but there always are with live theater. That’s one of the joys of live theater because you never know when something’s gonna go wrong or something may happen. They have overcome those hiccups, and they are covering for each other so well, they really have come together as a team, and just like the show says, they’re all in this together.”
This production needs no introduction; with the original movie High School Musical released in 2006 and then the resurgence of High School Musical as a television series airing in 2019, there is no child or adult who wasn’t impacted by this musical, and this opened a world of possibilities for Boyce to put her spin on the show.
The casting for the show was intense because teens and adults from all over the Trussville Tribune coverage area wanted to part in this iconic musical. Some roles, such as Sharpay Evans and Gabriella Montez, were double cast because the talent was unbelievably good.
“It’s like the movie, but it is not completely like the movie, there are changes that should make you want to come to see it, if nothing else, to see how it’s different,” Boyce said. “We have two different girls playing our lead roles, and they both make the play a little different. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should definitely come see it just to see how they bring the characters of Gabriella and Sharpay to life. If you have seen it, you may want to come back a second weekend just to see the differences.”
Don’t expect to see the same performance two weekends in a row because the two leading female roles, Sharpay and Gabriella, will be interpreted differently by the actresses cast in those roles.
Payton Myers is taking the stage for the first weekend as the smartest girl in school, Gabriella Montez, and Lauren Kilgore will play the role of Gabriella for the second weekend. Kathryn Schmidt and Janie Spratley are also sharing the role of Sharpay Evans, with Schmidt making her appearance on the first weekend and Spratley on the second weekend.
With the guidance from Boyce, this cast has managed to take a nostalgic musical and put their interpretation on it. Myers gave a shy Gabriella a little more spunk, and Schmidt takes the cake, literally, as the “star” villain.
This show will have you laughing and cheering with the actors as they show their feistier side. The audience will see Ryan Evans, played by Reagan White, finally stand up to his sister, Sharpay, and witness Cole Barnes give his character, Chad Danforth, some attitude in various scenes with Sharpay.
However, High School Musical wouldn’t be complete without the heartthrob basketball star, Troy Bolton, played by Anthony Cucinotta, who embodied what a student-athlete finding his spotlight on stage was like. With girls throwing themselves at Troy and trying to navigate a double life, the show will not disappoint.
Also, pay attention to Jackie Scott, played by Abigail Wilkinson, as she talks loudly on her show “The Velvet Fog of East High.” Wilkinson puts the spirit in East High with her performance as Jackie, maybe too much spirit when she accidentally mouths off to Ms. Darbus, played by Heather Duncan.
Lauryn Jolly portrays the very shy but talented Kelsi Neilson to a T, and throughout the show, you watch Kelsi find her footing and take control of her show.
“The cast has done such a good job,” Boyce said. “We’ve had some people that can’t be at every performance. One of our actors is unfortunately sick right now, and we have had other cast members step up to help where she was. They’ve come together to help the beautifully, and they just really put their whole heart and soul into the show and you can just see it. So I hope all our audiences enjoy it.”
Leeds Arts Council’s High School Musical is a must-see because no two performances are the same. So, sit back and make sure you get lost in the music with the cast, and don’t be afraid to join in on the group songs because everyone knows you know them.
Performance dates are July 21-23 and 28-30 at 7 p.m. and July 24 and 31 at 2 p.m.; tickets may be obtained by going to lac.booktix.com. The Leeds Arts Council is located at 8140 Parkway Drive in Leeds.
- Anthony Cucinotta – Troy Bolton
- Payton Myers and Lauren Kilgore – Gabrielle Montez
- Kathryn Schmidt and Janie Spratley – Sharpay Evans
- Reagan White – Ryan Evans
- Sidney Smith – Taylor McKessie
- Cole Barnes – Chad Danforth
- Ethan Finnegan – Jason
- Eli Grubbs – Zeke Baylor
- Lauryn Jolly – Kelsi Neilson
- Trinity Dillingham – Jamie/Thespian
- Sara Marie Buttram – Susan/Thespian
- Jenna Rutledge – Cathy/Thespian
- Grace Crofts – Alana/Cheerleader/MC
- Val Crofts – Coach Jack Bolton
- Heather Duncan – Ms. Darbus
- Lori Theriot – Ms. Tenney/Moderator
- Abigail Wilkinson – Jackie Scott/Cyndra
- Ryleigh Hope – Thespian
- Rebekah Platt – Martha Cox
- Al Alexander – Ripper/The Skaters
- Jet Garzarek – Mongo/The Skaters
- Steele King – The Skaters
- Jax Rutledge – The Skaters
- Camryn Brown – Brainiacs
- Leah Trammell – Brainiacs
- Juniper Self – Brainiacs
- Victory Harbin – Wildcat Cheerleader
- Juliette Theriot – Wildcat Cheerleader
- Emma McCarrell – Wildcat Cheerleader
- Aidan Kay – The Jocks
- Cade Best – The Jocks
- Victoria Boyce – Director
- Brandi McClaran – Assistant Director
- Jon McClaran – Music Director
- April Garzarek – Stage Manager
- Phoenix James – Technical Director