“Here and now it’s time for celebration/ To finally figure it out/ That all our dreams have no limitations/That’s what it’s all about.” These upbeat lyrics are part of Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil’s “We’re All in This Together,” the finale number of St. Lawrence Academy’s “High School Musical.” At the April 10 dress rehearsal for the 22nd annual spring musical, students cast as high school archetypes (cheerleaders, jocks and brainiacs) acted, sang and danced with exuberance and focus. Because St. Lawrence Academy will close at the end of the school year, this production is also the high school’s final musical.
“‘High School Musical’ is based on the Disney movie of the same name; it’s about students getting involved in the arts, getting outside of their different cliques and trying something new,” says Mary Carroll, who has been the school’s director of the performing arts program for 22 years. “This musical is a no-cut so anyone who wants to be in the spring musical is cast. This year we have 45 cast members and 20 student crew members.”
Junior Bhavan Chana, playing Gabriella, enjoys sharing her talents and forming relationships with her cast mates. This is her third high school theater production.
“It’s a story about friends thinking they know what’s best for Troy and Gabriella. But at the end everyone realizes you should choose your own destiny and be what you want to be,” Chana says. “Gabriella has a lot of duets with Troy. I’ve rehearsed with [Athin Srinivasan, the student actor who plays Troy.] We’re trying to create these characters who love each other.”
Junior Dylan Wen, playing Chad, is thrilled to be in his first high school musical. In “High School Musical,” Chad initially tries to keep Troy, Gabriella’s love interest, focused on basketball.
“I was cast pretty late because the original actor for Chad had to back out; I came in about two weeks ago and was able to catch up,” Wen says. “I prepared for Chad with the help of my friends and teachers, who taught me the songs and dances. I’m a first-time dancer.”
Also a student director, Wen adds that everyone involved in this musical has been working hard. He admits feeling moved by the unity and bonding around him.
A closing ceremony after the final show on April 16 will allow alumni to sing the songs they sang when they were students at St. Lawrence Academy.
“All alumni are welcome to attend the show and join in on the numbers during a mini-concert,” Carroll says. “My music director, Kevin Surace, has been conducting the band for the last 19 years. His band will be accompanying the show at the mini concert.”
St. Lawrence Academy’s “High School Musical” will be playing at the school’s Community Center, 2000 Lawrence Court, on April 14, 15, and 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at http://saintlawrenceacademyperformingarts.brownpapertickets.com.