Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Taking theater beyond the high school stage

May 11, 2009

Nick Clasemann, an ‘06 graduate, performed in ‘Disney’s High School Musical 2’ at the Paramount Theatre

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

DASSEL-COKATO, MN - Nick Clasemann, a 2006 Dassel-Cokato graduate, took the passion for theater he acquired in high school to a bigger stage with “Disney’s High School Musical 2” at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud.

Clasemann played the lead role of Troy. Those familiar with the musical know this is the role also played by teen heartthrob, Zac Efron.

In 2008, Clasemann had a minor role in the first “High School Musical” playing “Ripper,” the lead skater who plays the cello.

With this role, he sang “Status Quo,” about what it was like to go against the status quo and do something he loved to do, play the cello and skate.

This role made Clasemann realize he loved the theater and he needed to get back into it.

The first “High School Musical,” and now the second, were both performed at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud through Great River Educational Arts Theatre (GREAT).

This is such a beautiful and much bigger stage than Clasemann has ever performed on in the past, he said.

He got his start in acting during his junior year of high school.

The first show Clasemann performed in during high school was the musical, “Cinderella,” under the direction of Becky Thielsen.

Though his role was minimal as an extra, this opened the door for him to acting.

“I loved it,” Clasemann said.

One of the reasons he really enjoyed the play was because of Thielsen.

“She really made it fun,” he said.

That same year, Clasemann performed in the one-act play, “The Express Lane,” also under Thielsen’s direction.

His next venture was the play, “An Evening of Culture: Faith County II.”

During his senior year, Clasemann performed in the fall musical “Oklahoma!,” where he played one of the lead characters, Ali Hakim.

That year, Clasemann also performed in the one-act play, “Definitely Eric Geddis.”

Out of all these, “Oklahoma!” was Clasemann’s favorite production because it was a tougher role for him playing a lead character.

Also, because he was playing a Persian salesman, Clasemann had to get an accent down.

“I really enjoyed that role,” he said.

Clasemann enjoys acting because he can be a different character, someone he is not.

He also enjoys the friendships he develops along the way that carry over long after the show is done.

Playing Troy has been an intense role for Clasemann.

There are a lot of “ups-and-downs” throughout the musical, with Troy going through many different emotions.

Because of a scholarship, Troy began acting selfish. This resulted in Troy losing his friends and girlfriend.

Troy then needs to make amends with those he has hurt.

Though it was tough to finally find the different emotions needed for the role, Clasemann was challenged by it, and he has enjoyed it thoroughly.

“It’s been fun and the dances were awesome,” he said.

“For me, it really shows that the fine arts are a big deal,” Clasemann said.

As a junior in college, studying to become an elementary teacher, Clasemann hears of schools cutting fine arts programs.

“By doing this, schools are telling young kids they can’t get anywhere through fine arts,” he said.

Clasemann disagrees, and proves that fine arts can go far beyond high school and says students can do anything – even perform in the lead role on a popular big-city stage.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things,” Clasemann tells young people.

“It might be scary sometimes, but you just might have to go for it and trust yourself and not care what other people are going to think,” he said.

The last performance was Sunday, but Clasemann is looking to audition for a July production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

Look to the Enterprise Dispatch blog for details and upcoming show dates.


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