If they didn’t do it now, it would have little meaning for future school casts.
That was Charles Harris’ thinking as he bought the licensing rights last year for students at Port Coquitlam’s Archbishop Carney regional secondary to perform in 2018.
After all, most of them had grown up with the Disney flick starring Zac Efron as the hunky and athletic Troy Bolton and Vanessa Hudgens as the new girl in town Gabriella Montez.
And a few, like Kendra Cordick, signed on for musical theatre lessons after seeing the show repeatedly as a child. “So when I heard we were going to do High School Musical this year, I knew I had to be in it,” said the Grade 11 student, 16. “It was like a dream come true.”
Last October, Harris saw 56 students — his biggest casting call ever — audition to be part of the extra-curricular production and selected 42 to join the East High School crew including Cordick, a theatre and dance student with Mandy Tulloch and a voice student of Gina Oh.
Cordick plays high school diva Sharpay Evans against her character’s twin brother Ryan, portrayed by Ricky McLeod (they also play Evian and Jordy in the Customer is Always Wrong, this year’s MetFest pick to represent SD43 at the provincial drama fest in April).
McLeod, who was a villager in Carney’s Beauty and the Beast in 2016 and whose sister, Angie, a Carney alumna, is a graduate of Capilano University’s Acting for Stage & Screen diploma program, is looking forward to the role.
“It’s my first time as a lead and it feels really good,” he said. “I’ve always looked up to the leads in past shows and wanted to try to do that, too.”
Christine Joy Orcullo, who also comes from a musical family, said Gabrielle is a very shy person who shuns cliques but finds an unlikely romance with Troy, who is portrayed by Gareth Magel. “It’s my first time in a show ever,” the Grade 12 student said, “and I can’t be more excited.”
The cast will be accompanied by a live orchestra — made up of six student musicians and an alumni, under the direction of Mallory Webster — while choreography is by fellow Carney grads Marleis Bowering and Shannon Hanbury, who last month scooped an Ovation! award for her performance as Janet van de Graaff in Theatre Under the Stars’ The Drowsy Chaperone.
• For tickets at $15 on Feb. 28 and March 1 to 3, email firstname.lastname@example.org.