EHS Theater Department: Inspired by the Old While Starting Something New

“High School Musical” Review



Top row, left to right: Suzette Stephen, Willow Edema, Sara Nasrullah Bottom row, right to left: Alena Ortiz-Albino, Adedoyin Ayeni, and Layna Ortiz-Albino


Edison High School’s theater department portrayed an outstanding depiction of the High School Musical movie. The audience was impressed by their vocals and coordination, all while watching the show explore ideas like conformity and individualism. This year’s leads, Dannijames Vergara ‘25 (Troy Bolton) and Amy Boslet ‘24 (Gabriella Montez), illustrated the pressures on a high school student and the development of a sweet romance. The production was even able to maintain elements of the original 2006 film, drawing on viewers’ nostalgia. 

High School Musical begins with the introduction of the two main characters: Gabriella, a shy bookworm who typically steers clear of social gatherings, and Troy, a basketball-obsessed jock, too driven by the championship game to party. Both characters are forced to attend a party, and end up reluctantly participating in karaoke. By the end of the song, however, Gabriella and Troy express a connection with each other and their newfound passion for singing. 

Gabriella Montez (Amy Boslet) leading her Decathlon Team to victory. (SAMARRA SARAVANAN ’24)

Gabriella moves to Albuquerque, New Mexico and ends up transferring to East High School, the same school Troy attends. Still fond of the moments he shared with Gabriella at karaoke, Troy offers to give her a tour of the building. However, after seeing the popular jock spend time with a shy newcomer, Sharpay, the leading antagonist played by Elyse Penedos ‘23, devises several plans to humiliate and discourage Gabriella. Battling these schemes and East High’s expectation of “sticking to the status quo”, Gabriella and Troy challenge the school’s norms and encourage students to reveal their true identities. 

The theater department successfully incorporated original aspects of the film, such as iconic dance moves from “We’re All In This Together”, while adding their own creativity, exemplified by their openness to all genders when assembling Troy’s basketball team. At the same time, the theater management and cast’s meticulous attention to detail provided a deeper understanding into the complexity of the characters. For example, Penedos’ self-assured mannerisms captured the feeling of Sharpay, such as adjusting her walk and posture, to make herself seem confident. These modifications added depth to the character, and the audience got a glimpse of the facade Sharpay created to conceal her insecurities about identity. 

The dancers also radiated energy and passion for the choreography, as they combined intensive footwork with cheerful expressions, making the dance seem effortless. The audience got a feel for the rhythm and tune with the synchronized moves while simultaneously dribbling basketballs on beat. Despite having smaller roles in the show, dancers employed their full potential in perfecting their movements and memorizing the choreography. 

“After school, to practice, I performed my moves over and over again, especially in ‘Getcha Head in the Game’,” said Sara Nasrullah ‘25. Dancers without basketball experience had to incorporate extra practice hours to master gracefully engaging with the prop.

The cast made sure to include their viewers in the musical too, as a couple of cast members took a seat in the auditorium in the middle of the show. They started clapping along to songs, and cheering for the actors, encouraging other spectators to join in. The audience was eager to involve themselves, judging by the number of whistles and the growing sound of applause. The interaction definitely elevated the experience, as audience members had a chance to connect with the actors and have fun.

Although frequently overlooked, backstage members played an important role in the fluidity of the performance. They employed professional attitudes, moving furniture and props silently while bringing in new objects quickly. There was little time between scenes, which kept the audience attentive and allowed the actors to continue from the end of the last scene. Without interruptions, the musical flowed seamlessly, keeping its viewers’ focus on the performance rather than the efforts in the background. 

Dancer Chizi Divine Nene stuns the audience with his moves. (SAMARRA SARAVANAN ’24)

The theater department committed hundreds of hours to provide entertainment and ensure the audience enjoyed the show. Rehearsals ran for three hours, four days a week, while tech rehearsals, which occurred the week before the show, ran for four and a half hours. However, actors attest to gaining valuable lessons and experience from participating in productions. 

Riva Christy ‘24, the actress who played Taylor McKessie, said, “Rehearsals are very tedious, so they require a lot of patience and understanding, as well as the ability to have fun.” She continues, listing teamwork and interacting with a community as other important skills she learned from productions. 

Ultimately, the cast and management’s commitment and preparation provided the audience with a spectacular experience. The appreciation for the sheer vocal talent, coordinated choreographies, and complex emotions was apparent in the large round of applause after the finale, as the audience was left anticipating the theater department’s next production.