A Backstage Pass to the High School Musical

Written by: Niyanthri

Edited by: Erich

Visuals by: Owen

Get your heads in the game, Bearcats! This year’s high school play, High School Musical, will be opening its curtains for the first time on Thursday, October 20. A reproduction of one of the most culturally impactful movies of the 21st century, the musical promises to put a unique, ISM-esque spin on a piece of media that has influenced a whole generation. There will be four shows, from the 20th to the 22nd of October, to ensure that everyone interested will get a chance to watch the performance. As tickets are already available for purchase, make sure to buy tickets as early as possible (at the cashier’s office) for a front row seat before they sell out! 

The play is one of the most anticipated events of the year. With dozens of students auditioning for a role as a cast or crew member each year, a lot of organisation goes into each and every rehearsal, beyond acting. Since the play will be in person for the first time in nearly three years, some aspects of the play that were resumed due to the pandemic have started again, such as lighting and sound work, the creation of costumes and set design, and much more. All of these tasks are effort and time intensive, but they are what make the annual HS Play a well-rounded production. These production elements also serve to be great experiences for students. Jack, a sophomore who is a part of the lighting crew, noted that his “favourite part of the experience is talking to the booth manager Caleb along with our tech manager, CJ and discussing how we want to light certain scenes. It is always fun to discuss different opinions.” Seeing as no prior experience is required, the play is an excellent opportunity for beginners and advanced students alike to improve their knowledge of how theatrical productions function. Furthermore, the play is not only a learning opportunity, but also an important social experience, since participants are able to form connections through working together. Anyka, a sophomore sound crew member, stated in this regard that “the best part was hanging out backstage waiting… until scenes were over.” It truly shows that the play brings the community closer in a variety of ways. 

The protagonists of the play, Troy and Gabriella, are portrayed by seniors John and Selma. This will be the first high school play either of them will be participating in; however, as Selma notes, “We’ve been preparing since auditions in mid-August… These past few months, the whole production has been working incredibly hard to put on the show. The energy and effort of everyone involved has been amazing – I am so grateful and love everyone on the cast and crew.” It’s clear that a lot of effort has been invested into making this play a night to remember, and it’s the start of something new not only for John and Selma, but also for Ms. Monsod, the drama teacher for grades 9-12. When asked what her favourite part of organising this year’s play was, she responded, “This HS play, however, is the first time I’m directing a musical… As the performances also have singing and choreographic components… I’m now collaborating with multiple colleagues… So I’d say this is my favourite part of organising this year’s play!” As the play’s opening approaches, the culmination of this month and a half long process is eagerly awaited by many, but especially by those involved in the production. John expresses that he is ”thrilled for next week’s performances and am looking forward to seeing family and friends in the crowd. I’m most excited to show what we have put together in such a short period of time,” a sentiment that is echoed by many others in the cast and crew. 

This year’s HS play promises to be an unmissable spectacle: four evenings of musical theatre that infuse the premise of the iconic movie with some signature Bearcat spirit. Rehearsed tirelessly by an incredible cast and crew since August, the play is a feat of collaboration to showcase the theatrical and technical talent the HS student body possesses. One thing is certain: the play will make every audience member’s head bop to the top. You can bet on it!