HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
August 6, 2007, Herald Journal

Disney’s high school musical stage production a hit


If you have elementary-aged children, you probably have heard about or watched Disney’s made-for-TV musical, “High School Musical.”

The show was released in January 2006, and it was one of the most successful Disney Channel original movies produced, with a television sequel in production and a movie spin-off in the works also. The film’s soundtrack was one of the best-selling album of 2006.

For those of you who haven’t seen the show, the plot is described as a modern retelling of “Romeo and Juliet.” It is the story of two high school students from rival cliques: Troy Bolton, captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez, a shy, very bright student in the science club.

The two try out for the lead parts in their high school musical. Despite other students’ attempts to deminish their dreams, the two resist peer pressure and inspire others along the way to not “stick with the status quo” (one of the popular musical soundtracks in the movie).

I, too, enjoyed the movie, its music, hip hop dance numbers, infectious excitement, and the story line.

Because of its popularity, soundtracks, DVDs, concert tours, video games, books, ice show, and stage show have been produced based on the hit movie.

And our family was lucky enough to recently watch a stage show production of it. The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis performed the movie last winter on its Cargill Stage. It was a huge hit and tickets were sold out immediately.

We know. Our family attempted to get tickets, and obviously did not attempt to early enough.

Live on the theater’s Main Stage, the production once again entertained theater-goers. The Children’s Theatre Company’s production of Disney’s High School Musical ran June 28 – July 22.

And this time around, we got tickets. It was well worth it. The stage show production was fantastic.

My husband and I and our three children, including our 3-old, loved the production.

As the directors of the theatre company put it, “It’s a totally infectious production, and we know you’ll love it.”

We did. I was hip hopping in my seat and singing right along (as I have many of the songs memorized) with all of the talented actors.

One of the talented actors was our very own local, Winsted Holy Trinity High School student, Todd Boger. Boger is and was part of the Ensemble Swing in both of the Children’s Theatre Company’s productions of the hit TV movie.

It made the show even more fun to be able to read through the production’s program credits and actor biographies and actually read about a local talent.

Boger’s biography noted that he has been in many shows at Stages Theatre Company including: “Cinder Edna,” “Seussical,” “A Christmas Carol,” and the “Prince and the Pauper.”

Reading through all of the young actors’ biographies (I believe the appropriate term is actors for both male and female), I was again in awe of their accomplishments and their dreams and goals.

The actors had varying backgrounds, but all were certainly not living “the status quo.” It takes great dedication, skill, work ethic, and risk to be a part of stage productions.

I applaud all of these young (and older as well) people, including Todd Boger, for their achievements, efforts, skills, and their choice to use them.

I respect and thoroughly enjoy the fine arts. Going to a play production is among one of my favorite things to do.

I also recently attended a Prairie Fire Theater’s production of Cinderella. My 9-year-old niece was part of the cast, and this, too, was great fun.

Whether it be an Old Log Theater production, a high school production, a children’s stage show (the list really goes on), I am always in awe of the talent and bravery of those that take part in the productions.

While we hear stories of, or witness negative acts by our young people, there are wonderful “stories” about our young people, as well. We have to support the positive contributions that our young people make to society. We have to look for the good in our youth, because it’s there.

Although attending a theatrical performance can be expensive, it is so worthwhile, and there certainly are more inexpensive options for attending a stage show.

So, again, if you get a chance to support the fine arts, you won’t be sorry. Attend a play, or concert, or an art show.

While I am certainly a supporter of athletics, fine arts is just as important, and it is equally important to support those who participate in these fine activities. These fine young people who participate in these activities are role models for our next generation. And I feel lucky.