Something huge is happening at Blue Springs South High School.
Featuring a cast of more than a hundred students that includes the school’s cheerleading squad, dance team and theater department, Blue Springs South presents its version of the highly popular Disney “High School Musical” this week.
This year’s group of students at South have the energy and talent needed for the high-octane production, says theater instructor and play director Susan Cooper.
“We have the perfect mix of kids this year with their dancing and acting abilities,” Cooper said.
Blue Springs South Principal Charles Belt suggested the musical for this year’s spring production, and Cooper agreed.
“I also thought the time was right,” Cooper added.
Blue Springs South added some new elements to the show that prevents it from being a paint-by-numbers rendition.
“We incorporated some additional characters and even a new song called ‘Cellular Division,’” Cooper said.
But all the original songs will be featured as well.
One of the new characters, an East High School student radio announcer, moves the plot along by narrating key events during scene transitions.
And in case you forgot or are not familiar with the plot, think “Romeo and Juliet” plus “Grease,” along with a heaping dose of vigor. The storyline involves one jock and one nerd who become smitten with each other despite their differences. Strong disapproval from their groups of friends ensues.
“Early at a young age, we learn that people assign labels or groups for you,” Cooper explained. “But the truth and the message of the musical is don’t let people try and label you. Try something new.”
Overall, it’s about transcending what people think of you and branching out – in a very engaging sort of way with elaborate dance numbers and songs performed throughout the show.
“We have a super enthusiastic group that came together to pull this off,” said senior Julia Swank, who plays the antagonistic theater diva Sharpey Evans. Swank also says she has a penchant for playing a villain or antagonist in productions because they are more fun to play rather than the straight-laced hero.
Senior Reuben Hoyle described the dances as "expressive." Hoyle has the double duty of being the production’s choreographer and portraying “meathead” Chad in the musical.
“There are a lot of hip-hop and jazz elements in our dance numbers,” he said. “Kind of like breakdancing.”
Hoyle also said those involved in the production’s dances have been working every day since last November to perfect their routines. Some of those members include the school’s dance team, Touch of Silver, which last week attended a competition and placed third in the state.
But why should people come out and see the musical at the end of this week?
“Because it’s a G-rated show for all audiences filled with dance and fun,” Cooper said. “It is a feel good musical.”
Blue Springs South’s “High School Musical” runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the school’s Performing Arts Center. Showtimes are 7 p.m., as well as a matinee performance beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.
Connor Uptegrove - Troy Bolton
Miriam Azimi-Tabrizzi - Gabriella Montez
Ross Dryer - Ryan Evans
Julia Swank - Sharpay Evans
Rueben Hoyle - Chad Denforth
Chase Tauveli - Taylor McKessie
Tom Clarke - Zeke Baylor
Alexandria Iles - Martha Cox
Alex Moore - Jack Scott
Leah Bell - Kelsi Nielsen
Emily McCarty - Ms. Darbus
Kevin Ostrom - Coach Jack Bolton
Trae Engman - Alan
Baylor Massey - Cathy
Alexis Krepps - Cyndra
Chris Bueno - James
Carter Messner - Ripper
Jessica Albina - Susan