Middle, high schools perform ‘Musical’ with success


After practicing for more than four months every Tuesday and Thrusday, the drama department successfully performed its first musical production in five years, putting on stage “High School Musical” from Nov. 20-21 in the auditorium. The first performance started at 3:15 p.m. to attract primarily students, whereas the second performance started at 7 p.m. to make it possible for working parents to see the show. Students from both the middle and high schools collaborated to interact with and captivate the audience using vibrant lighting and music. 

The lighting and sound systems, as well as the live accompaniment by the Jazz Band made it possible for cast members to interact with their audience to a greater extent. The electric piano and bass guitar were only two of the six instruments used to liven the mood of the musical. Songs that the audience was already familiar with for example, “Breaking Free” and “We’re All In This Together,” also allowed viewers to sing and clap along. At the same time, the casting of several middle school students, such as Sean Lee (8) who played Troy Bolton, the main character, was a unique aspect to this year’s production compared to that of previous years.

“It was my first time ever singing in public, let alone having a lead role,” Sean said. “Musicals require singing, dancing and acting at the same time and at first, I found this difficult. Middle and high school students, on the other hand, had no barrier and we were able to produce a fine  performance.”

With one of the largest sets in school history, the stage of “High School Musical” demanded a great deal of time and effort. According to Simon Williams, drama production director, building the platform required the most energy. His initial request to the school’s facilities department to build the stage turned out to be was turned down because of the complicated nature of musical stages. However, after overcoming language barriers, Mr. Williams was able to create what he had in mind.

“Operating in a country where I do not speak the language and trying to explain is very challenging,” Mr. Williams said. “I cannot draw either, so I had to see Mrs. Lopez to take what is in my head and visualize it. I used to be a singer because it’s a part of my job. I was also a dancer for a long time. But I don’t know much about music. There were many problems but they could be overcome with a good team, and we had a good team. ”

Despite such difficulties, the “High School Musical” cast and crew received praise from audience members for both presentations. Even though there were unpredicted errors such as malfunctioning microphones and brief pauses due to miscommunication between cast members, “High School Musical” continued without noticeable errors. The crowd responded positively to the drama department’s use of lighting and live music, as well as its renovated stage and diverse cast.

“I could see they have prepared a lot,” Ashley Sohn (10) said. “The extended stage, for example, was very distinct for me. And the cast was also polished and well put. Because not a lot of high school students are interested in participating, it is great to have middle school students to help out or even lead main roles for the play.”

Betrayed by Ryan Evans, played by Debora Kim (11), Sharpay Evans, played by Heejae Jo (12), accuses her brother of taking her rival’s side. “How can you stab me in the back like that, helping the enemy?” 

Photo by Hollis Hwang (12)