High School Musical meets Norfolk Collegiate

If you've never seen High School Musical, what are you waiting for? Join Norfolk Collegiate’s theater department as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of acclaimed Disney musical in the Hackney Theater April 1-3.

Our students will bring the East High Wildcats to the Meredith Center for the Arts with three performances beginning on Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m. followed by a second showing on Saturday, April 2 at 7 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday, April 3, at 3 p.m.

“We’re thrilled to be putting on this crowd-pleasing favorite,” said Brendan Hoyle, theater director. “This year the students of Norfolk Collegiate, especially the senior class, rallied behind the idea of doing High School Musical as the spring production for 2016,” Hoyle continued. “After much discussion with students and faculty members we agreed that it would be a terrific show for our growing theatre program.  In addition to being popular as a nostalgic favorite of our upper school, it’s a fun musical with a big cast of interesting roles for the many talented actors and singers we have at Norfolk Collegiate.  The songs are infectious, the story is lighthearted and the characters are unforgettable.”

This is Collegiate’s largest performing cast to date, bringing together new and seasoned performers for the final upper school play of the school year.

“The most rewarding moment has definitely been the sheer number of people that we have in this production,” said senior James Cooper ‘16 who has performed in each of Collegiate’s theatrical performances since the sixth grade. “Previously, we’ve done smaller or lesser known shows but to do High School Musical, which I grew up watching and a lot of my classmates also, to see us grow from a cast of eight or 10 last year to a cast of around 30 people, it’s just amazing,” he continued. “I’m still reprising my role as choreographer, and now I get to work with a lot more people who are all at different [skill] levels. I believe the whole show will be rewarding.”

The musical will follow the antics of East High’s most popular student Troy Bolton, who is played by James and the nerdy new girl Gabriella Montez, played by Lila Spurgeon ’19. The story shows how two people from different walks of life fall in love as they audition for the school musical.

First time theater performer, senior and volleyball player Bailey Jones ’16 has joined the cast and is extremely excited about performing in the show.

“So far, the most rewarding moment for me has been putting all of the pieces together,” said Bailey. “Like putting the lines, the music and the dance moves together and being able to execute them rather efficiently has been really awesome for me,” she continued. “I auditioned for the musical because I liked to sing. In the past, however, I only worked backstage and hung out with the crew. Some of the crew suggested that I audition this year, so I took their advice and did it, and I ended up getting the role of Taylor.”

Taylor McKessie is one of the six main characters of the musical. She is best friends with Gabriella Montez, and she is the captain of the East High Scholastic Decathlon team.

Other cast members include Carla Leanzo ’16, Mitchell Maguire ’19, Parker Purrington ’19, Darden Purrington ’16, Lexi Hirschfeld ’19, Taylor Dews ’18, Jack Francis ’16, Joi Harper ’16 and Bailey Pettrey ’16. John Bain, upper school biology and associate admissions director, plays the role of Coach Bolton in the show.

The ensemble includes Yolanda Fu ’16, Annie Gao ’16, Grace Georgo ’18, Clare Harbin ’19, Blair Hurley ’16, Catherine Kim ’16, Jaela Macabulos ’19, Mia Mathas ’18, Calie Quinn ’19, Keady Rascona ’17, Simran Rijhwani ’18, Faith Rush ’16 and Emelie Stundźyte ’16.

“My advice to seniors or anyone who wishes to pursue theater after high school is to never stop having fun. Many people equate theater with Broadway or with national tours. Broadway is a terrific place, but you don’t need to be on Broadway to make theater,” Hoyle said. “Theatre is any act of performance where there is an audience. Make sure that wherever you are performing; whether in college, regional theater, community theater or Broadway that you are always having fun and enjoying your life.”

This is a show that the whole family will enjoy. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased as the door.

“I encourage everyone to come out and support our students and enjoy this wonderful musical.  The beauty of live theater is that you can only enjoy it in the exact moment in which it is occurring,” Hoyle said. “You can pause movies or you can wait until a movie comes out on BluRay but live performance only happens once. This experience of seeing these students perform in High School Musical will only happen this weekend, and then it’s gone.  This is your only chance to see our talented students in this marvelous production. You don’t want to miss it.”

For more information about the show, contact Brendan Hoyle at 757.480.5322 or bhoyle@norfolkcollegiate.org.