By Emma McDougal, First Baptist Academy student
Let’s face it, 2020 was a handful! People’s schedules flipped upside down, causing loads of worry and confusion about their loved ones, and whether they’d ever be able to live a normal life. While the pandemic caused lots of events, games and productions to come to a grinding halt, the theater department of First Baptist Academy, led by Mrs. Lisa Emmick, was determined to bring some semblance of normality back into the students’ lives.
This year’s spring musical was “High School Musical,” inspired by the nostalgic teen drama produced by Disney. This musical was the perfect fit for this year. It brought everyone back to their childhood years of watching the dashing Troy Bolton and the gorgeous Gabriella Montez struggle with the message to just be yourself no matter what others think of you.
The duel between the eccentric theater supervisor, Mrs. Darbus (Mackenzie Blackson), and the dramatic, yet passionate basketball coach, Coach Bolton (Joshua Pope), had the crowd giggling at their bickering. The cheesy, yet sweet romance between Troy Bolton (Kai Nugent) and Gabriella Montez (Cydni Alexander) had them silently cheering the two on as they soared through the obstacles set for them by Sharpay Evans, as played by freshman, Mackenly Mitchell, and her talented but overshadowed twin brother, Ryan, played by senior, Austin Cox. Zeke (Josue Preza II), the sweet basketball player, who secretly loved to bake, and Troy’s best friend and teammate, Chad Danforth (Jaden Mitchell) made several attempts to understand why Troy wanted to be more than just the star of the basketball game.
While Troy struggled with maintaining a balance between singing and shooting baskets, Gabriella’s best friend, Taylor McKessie (Jackie Saba), and Martha Cox (Raigan Washington), try to understand why Troy and Gabriella would ever become a couple.
The main characters stressed over the many obstacles and lessons learned about being there for their friends, providing inspiration for student composer Kelsi Nielsen, played by Hannah Granado. Their drama was narrated by “The Velvet Fog of East High,” otherwise known as Jack Scott, played by Joseph Daniels.
Other seniors who performed in their last play were Jordan Fuller, a fellow skateboarder and Abby Cuellar, a brainiac. Jason was played by Logan Flowers, and Sally Weng, Kate Chen and Tina Yu played the roles of avid Wildcat students.
While the cast ran around stage debating whether or not to stick to the status quo, backstage were the true masterminds of the production — the crew. Most of the crew were sophomores and juniors. Seniors coordinating their final high school musical were Braxton Hill, stage manager, Candy Tang, costume manager, and Simon Wu, who helped move set pieces during blackouts.
Senior student directors Mackenzie Blackson and Hannah Granado did a great job orchestrating the production. Disney’s High School Musical was presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI.) All authorized performance materials were also supplied by MTI.