Disney’s High School Musical

Thu, 08/02/2007 - 12:56pm
By: Emily Baldwin

School’s in session at The Legacy

The Legacy's High School Musical 1 Cast members from The Legacy Theatre's production of Disney's "High School Musical." From left, Borris York, Lauren F. Jones, Chase Peacock, Haley Godwin, Courtney Godwin and Chase Todd.

It’s August, and that means it’s time for kids to head back to school, but The Legacy Theatre in Tyrone is making the transition back into classrooms a little easier with their stage production of Disney’s “High School Musical.”

The Legacy's High School Musical 3

With 18 performances of this immensly popular show, kids and adults alike are reveling in the fun and excitement The Legacy is bringing to the stage this month.

Adapted from the teen phenomenon Disney’s “High School Musical,” a made-for-TV movie which first aired in January 2006, the stage production includes a few new songs as well as a few other variations to make the show more “stage friendly.”

“High School Musical” tells the story of Troy Bolton, a basketball star, and Gabriella Montez, a book worm. When Troy and Gabriella meet each other while on winter vacation, they instantly connect. Thrown together during a karaoke competition they find a mutual interest in singing and each other, but aren’t left with much time to get to know one another.

When Troy returns to school after the break, he discovers that Gabriella is the new girl at his school. The twosome decide to partner up to audition for the school’s winter musical, despite their friends’ vehement discouragement. The two must work together to combat their friends’ expectations, conflicting schedules, and even a few enemies- Ryan and Sharpay, the school’s top theatrical talents- to pursue their dream.

The Legacy's High School Musical 2

The show, which has been compared to such classic stories as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Grease,” has been the surprise hit of the past year and a half. The movie version has continued to remain popular with kids, teens and adults alike, while the soundtrack was the best selling album of 2006, winning the Billboard Music Award for Soundtrack Album of the Year. The show has won 10 awards, including two Emmys, and boasts 12 other nominations.

The stage version of the show premiered in January at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, garnering rave reviews. Now locals have the chance to see the live show again.

The Legacy Theatre has been hard at work rehearsing for this show, which has grown into a far larger production than originally anticipated. The show, which opened on July 31, will run through August 19. Many of the performances are already sold out, but tickets are still available.

The cast includes over 60 actors, including professionals as well as locals from all over the metro Atlanta area.

The Legacy's High School Musical 4

Chase Peacock portrays basketball star and singing sensation Troy Bolton. Peacock attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City where he currently resides. His most recent shows include “Les Miserables,” “Pippin,” “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and the award-winning ECHO stage production of “Godspell.” Peacock also wrote the score to the musical “You’re in High School, Charlie Brown” and can be heard as Linus on the original cast album.

Haley Godwin takes stage as beautiful and brainy Gabriella Montez. She recently graduated from Union Grove High School in McDonough, Ga. and will be heading off to attend the University of Georgia this fall to major in psychology. Some of her theater credits include “Les Miserables” (Cosette), “Little Women” (Marmee), “It’s A Wonderful Life” (Mary), “Annie Get Your Gun” (Winnie), and “Treasure Island” (Long Jane Silver).

Both Peacock and Godwin demonstrate their experience with confidence and ease on stage in this production, belting out hits like “Start of Something New,” “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” and “Breaking Free.”

The cast also includes Courtney Godwin as the controlling and conniving president of the Drama Club Sharpay Evans. Sharpay’s sidekick and fraternal twin brother Ryan is portrayed by Chase Todd. Performing numbers like “What I’ve Been Looking For” and “Bop to the Top,” Godwin and Todd keep audiences laughing with their characters’ desperate attempts at keeping Troy and Gabriella apart and out of their rightful place as the leads of the school musical.

Other key performances are turned in by Lauren F. Jones as Taylor McKessie, Borris York as Chad Danforth, Mandee Kulaga as Kelsi Nielson, Nick Morrett as Zeke Baylor, Caroline Thrasher as Martha Cox, Wendy Fulton-Adams as Ms. Barbus, Mac Clark as Jack Scott, Austin Tijeruna as Ripper and Justin Thompson as Kratnoff.

Mark Smith, who portrays Coach Bolton, is the director for the show. “This cast will give the Fox’s a run for their money,” said Smith, who also owns the theater along with his wife Bethany. “Their energy in our intimate space blows the roof off of the building. The audience better be ready to have a great time--there’s no way you will be able to leave The Legacy after this show without a smile on your face and singing all the fantastic tunes.”

Smith also says that he feels the stage production is even better than the television movie because of the added and extended musical numbers. “If you think you’ve seen this story, you better think again, because the stage show practically has the audience joining in the action.”

Due to the unprecedented demand, The Legacy is opening up shows on two Thursdays, including August 9 at 8 p.m.

Get your tickets now by calling The Legacy box office at 404-895-1473 or online at www.thelegacytheatre.org. Ticket prices range from $12-$25.

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