Eisenhower High School’s drama program is known for staging a memorable musical for the community each year that showcases abilities of its talented students. This time, the pressure is on as the cast and crew take on the classic Disney Channel original movie “High School Musical.”
The TV film from 2006 has made a huge impact on the teens of today. Many students grew up watching the movie, and perhaps even taught themselves songs and dances from it so they could feel like they were a part of the fun.
Portraying the lead roles of Troy and Gabriella at Eisenhower are senior Isaiah Lopez and sophomore Lily Allen. The two actors have performed in high school shows before, but this time they have the spotlight. Both performers feel some sort of connection to their character, giving each of them something they feel has helped them to portray their respective roles more convincingly.
Allen, who transferred to Eisenhower from East Valley High School this year following her recent move into the Yakima School District, said: “I definitely relate to Gabriella. She just moved to a new school, and met amazing people she will never forget. She is also really sweet and a little awkward, which totally defines me.”
Lopez has really connected with his character, saying: “I can relate to Troy Bolton in numerous ways. From meeting someone new over break, to telling your friends all about it, and to even wanting to show others that it’s OK to be yourself. No one should put limits on who you are and what you can achieve!”
Allen summarizes the show as being about “two teenagers going outside the boundaries of their cliques and discovering more about themselves, while setting off a chain reaction throughout the whole school.”
Thinking about what makes the show so special to her, she added: “It’s my first modern show (one that focuses on teenagers), so it hits really close to home. I feel like it has drama, comedy, and romance all in one, which I love.”
Many of Allen’s fellow performers also love the modern twist to this classic Shakespearean tale.
Just as the students of East High School join together in spite of their different interests, the actors in the Eisenhower show have come from various backgrounds to put on this musical. With track stars, band geeks, debaters, and dancers, the cast of “High School Musical” has everything.
Lopez, an Ike runner, explained: “Being in a musical is different than a sport because you are allowing yourself to either make or break a scene. You don’t get another inning, or another quarter of that scene. You have months of preparation for just two hours on stage, and you have to make the most out of it. However, both performing on the stage and on the field can be similar because they both require extreme amounts of focus.”
Although performing may be a new concept to many of the performers in the show, they definitely do not show it. After all, taking on the role of a high schooler as an actual high schooler is not too demanding.
Being in the show myself, I have to say that my favorite part of the musical is definitely the new music that wasn’t part the original movie. Numbers such as “Cellular Fusion,” “Counting on You” and the “Auditions” song may be new to the usual fans of the more well-known version of “High School Musical,” but that won’t stop audiences from grooving along. However, you can still expect to hear all of the classic numbers, including “Bop to the Top,” “Stick to the Status Quo” and “We’re All in This Together,” just to name a few.
Senior Moira McGregor took on the role of choreographer, coming up with and teaching every dance in the show. Teaching your fellow classmates may be difficult sometimes, but McGregor pointed out that choreographing a show is “super fun and challenging, but so fun and rewarding!”
After months of preparation, the cast of Eisenhower’s “High School Musical” is ready to perform for the public. The first week of performances began Thursday. This week, shows are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain.
Hannah Boucher is a senior at Eisenhower High School and is a member of the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed program for teen journalists. She is a member of the cast of Eisenhower’s production of “High School Musical.”