Sneak Peak of High School Musical

Paola Mejia '19 and Emma Ferguson '19

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OLP’s fall play for the year 2018-2019 will be High School Musical. The Disney Channel movie musical is about two students, Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez, who go out of their comfort zones and high school stereotype and try something new. This year we are going back to 2006, and remembering all those moments when no one could stop singing to the soundtrack of this iconic movie, and everyone, I mean EVERYONE had a huge crush on basketball player Troy Bolton. Not only did this movie bring amazing songs into our lives, but it also inspired many people to start acting, singing, or dancing; as well as being more confident and trying new things. This year the play consists of the biggest cast and crew, including the biggest participation from the boys at Saints. For this play Troy Bolton will be played by senior Saintsman Parker Richardson and Gabriella Montez will be played by OLP senior Daniela Miranda. I got the opportunity to ask her a few questions about what the play means to her and her role in it.


PM: Was High School Musical a big part of your childhood?

DM: Definitely. I still remember seeing High School Musical 2 for the first time the summer before 2nd grade. The catchy songs, the memorable dance numbers and the lovable characters just drew you in to the franchise. I loved every single one of those movies and knew the lyrics by heart days after each movie released. There was just something so whimsical and grown up and cheery about them -it consequently made me very excited for high school, though I would find out later that breaking out into song during a basketball game sadly doesn’t happen too often.


PM: Did it inspire you to get into acting, singing, or dancing?

DM: I think the High School Musical movies were my first encounter with a musical I could see myself in. I had always been a fan of The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins, but as much as I appreciated them, they seemed more distant, more magical and less real. The High School Musical movies were the first musicals to teach me that music and dance can help express the emotions and actions of normal high school teenagers, and that what is normal is just as extraordinary as a magical adventure. I had always been interested in performing as a child, but I think that High School Musical was a big part of that interest. All of a sudden I had these role models I wanted to sing like and dance like because, in my little 2nd grade eyes, they made it look so cool and fun.


PM: What was your reaction when hearing that they had picked High School Musical as this year’s fall play?

DM:Okay, If I’m being honest, I was a little nervous. And it’s not because I don’t love High School Musical, it’s the opposite really! I love High School Musical so much and the movie is so iconic that I was scared the production was going to be compared and held up to that standard. I knew how difficult it would be for myself to let go of  Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella and Zac Efron as Troy and I was afraid that the audience might also find this difficult. I will say, however, I quickly got over this fear and I’m so happy I get to be in a production with such iconic music and one liners and that I get to add my own flavor to one of my childhood favorite characters. I think people will really enjoy it if they embrace the production for what it is (which is a little different from the movie version).


PM: What inspired you to audition for the lead role of Gabriella?

DM: Actually, I was a little indecisive about which character I would audition for. I knew I felt closer in personality to Gabriella, but I also really liked the idea of playing someone completely different from myself.  I thought that everyone would probably want to be Gabriella and I was a little scared that I probably wouldn’t really shine if I auditioned for her. Also, I always find that playing roles that are a little close to my personality are actually quite difficult for me, because then it’s hard to know what to act, whereas outlandish characters are more easily distinguishable from my own thoughts and feelings and easier to “put on” if that makes sense. But, after some advice and reading the script, I felt good about reading her scenes and I knew I wanted to make Gabriella complex, and that it would be a challenge for me.


PM:Could you tell me about your audition process?

DM: There were three days of the audition process and all my auditions were in the middle of the afternoon, which game me a good amount of time after school to practice (and freak out a little inside.)  The first day was the singing and dancing audition. I stepped into the theatre with Mr. Tracy, Dr. Dicce, and a pianist, all there and sang “Breathe” from In the Heights acapella and then headed to the dance studio to dance to “We’re All in this Together.” They didn’t say much afterwards, but I felt pretty good about it (which is a rare thing when I audition). Then was the acting audition, where I got to pick a character and would be asked to read some scenes they are in. I chose Gabriella and read two of her scenes and left the theatre in about a span of three minutes. Crazy how so much shaking and brain work and practice goes into those three little minutes. Late at night that evening I received an email I had been called back for Gabriella the next day! I was overjoyed, but the next day callbacks were about an hour long. The audition process was nerve-racking, but it helped me to learn to keep my cool and believe in myself and in my artistry.


PM: Is there anyway you connect to the character?

DM: I think that Gabriella and I are similar in that we don’t like to let people down and like to work really hard, though she inspires me to work harder. We have our differences, however. I’m more of a comedy kind of gal, whereas Gabriella is very much a romantic. I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m okay of making a fool of myself, whereas I think Gabriella is a little more afraid and reserved about how she is perceived. Especially at a new school. I really enjoy playing her though. She has a good heart and a sharp mind.  


PM: What can we expect to see that will be different from the previous plays?

DM: More participation! I don’t think OLP has ever had a cast or a crew this big and it’s been super fun having all these people come together and help make this production spectacular. Also, more modern costumes! A lot of our costumes are actually from our own closets. Our awesome costume designer Ale Acosta has a great vision for the clothes our characters wear and, since they are normal high school teenagers in the early 2000s, a lot of their looks are pretty easy to find (which is certainly different from the corsets or timepieces I’m used to wearing in productions).


This play is definitely “The Start of something new” for the drama department. This year we get a taste of something more modern and bigger. The cast and crew is one of the biggest involved, consisting of about 60 students each. As well as being the biggest number of Saints boys in the play to participate. During 8th grade visitations the drama production presented the beginning of the play. I got a sneak peek myself, and we can all definitely wave goodbye to those corsets and timepieces, and hello to those new and improved wildcats uniforms. This year we get a taste of something more modern and bigger because of the many students involved in the play. I can definitely say that I am very excited for what the rest of the play will be like. Get ready pilots because the wildcats are coming to take over OLP in November. Be sure to support the amazing students who put this play together and worked everyday to give you the show of a lifetime.“We are all in this together,” therefore I encourage students, families, and staff to come support the amazing students who put this play together to give you the show of a lifetime.

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