Greenville high-schoolers take on ‘High School Musical’

Stars in Greenville High School’s version of “High School Musical” include Jared Loomis as Troy Bolton, Taylor Bretzke as Gabriella Montez, Brianna Van Houten as Sharpay Evans, Seth Davis as Ryan Evans and Alicia Gatchel as Kelsi Neilson. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

Disney’s “High School Musical” is just that — a musical based on high school experiences.

Greenville High School’s version of “High School Musical” is also an opportunity to highlight the talent of high school students both on stage and behind the scenes.

With performances today, tomorrow and Saturday, more than 40 students are on stage at the Greenville High School Performing Arts Center, with nearly that same number behind the scenes pulling off a top-notch show.

“This show was two years in the making,” technical director Chris Chapman said. “With the bond that was passed two years ago, we were able to update our equipment and purchase a professional lighting system and mixing board. This production was the perfect opportunity to highlight the skills the students have learned with this equipment.”

The nearly 80 students showed professional talent, lighting and sound, but also stage design, vocals, and choreography.

The top quality of the production begins in the first scene when students descend on the three-tier stage from all around the auditorium with members of the drum line, marching and dancing among cheerleaders and other actors and actresses. The students gather at East High School at the beginning of a new school year, and welcome a new student, Gabriella Montez, played by Taylor Bretzke.

“It is a bit of a different show for us in costuming as it takes place in current times,” stage director Ruth Hansen said. “You would think it would be easy, but there are a lot of costume changes, and a lot of color coordinating of costumes. There are a lot of costumes changes for most of the characters.”

As the students sing “Start of Something New” the fast-paced song features very quick featured solo parts for many of the students.  The students begin to discuss what they did on break, and Gabriella shares how she met a boy. In the meantime, basketball star Troy Bolton, performed by veteran actor Jared Loomis, recounts to his friends how he met a girl.

The flashback scene, where the two met, was produced by a sparkling shim, quickly transporting the two back to the ski lodge, and just as quickly placing them back into the school hallways. It also shows the audience the high caliber singing voices of the two leads as they perform a striking duet.

The duo are strongly supported throughout the production with other top-notch actors such as Brianna Van Houten as Sharpay Evans, Seth Davis as Ryan Evans, Skye Hayes as Chad Danforth, Alex Scholten as Zeke Baylor, Jeremy Stowitts as Jason, Alisha Gatchel as Kelsi Neilson, Macy Risch as Taylor McKessie.

Troy, his jock friends and the cheerleaders are in their glory in the East High gym, and showcase outstanding choreography while they sing “Get’cha Head in the Game,” dance and dribble and pass basketballs.

It is soon after the age-old rivalry between athletics and the fine arts comes to a clash. Mrs. Darbus, played enthusiastically by Jamee Gunn, encourages her students to audition in the upcoming school musicale.  Brainiac Gabriella and sports star Troy sign up for lead roles, it rocks the high school social order breaks the cliques typical in high school.

Van Houten and Davis, as Sharpay and Ryan, portray an excellence stage presence, confident in their roles as the theater’s stars. Their duets and their dancing are fitting for the roles of experienced thespians.

While the students are in a tizzy about breaking the social rules or status quo, Mrs. Darbus encourages them.

“You have to be willing to take a risk,” she says to the students. Spencer Tower plays Coach Bolton and Susan Ayres portrays Ms. Tenny, who, along Gunn, take on the roles of the adult actors.

The students perform and sing “Stick to the Status Quo” in the cafeteria, again spotlighting many students with solo parts. The choreography, with all levels of the stage filled with actors, was well-rehearsed.

The jocks and the brainiac friends plot together to help Gabriella and Troy stay in their places, but later regret the call, and have to all work together to un-do the error.

Gabriella tries later to explain, “We are not all the same, but different, in a good way.”

A fast-paced, energetic production, “High School Musical” would be entertaining for the entire family.


If you go …

What: Disney’s “High School Musical”

Where: Greenville High School Performing Arts Center

When: 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday

Tickets: $10 for adult; $8 for students and senior citizens; available at the UPS Store or at the door


Cast: The Jocks: Troy Bolton, Jared Loomis; Chad Danforth, Skye Hayes; Zeke Baylor, Alex Scholten; Jason, Jeremy Stowitts;  Other Jocks, Tyler DeGood and Caleb Kellogg.

The Thespians: Sharpay Evans, Brianna Van Houten; Ryan Evans, Seth Davis; Kelsi Neilson, Alisha Gatchel; Jack Scott, Tristen Wheeler; James, Jeremy Stowitts; Susan, Olivia Tower; Cathy, Jenny Gryka; Alan, Vincent Frank; Cyndra, Lauren Walsh; Aaron Hogan, Mary McDonough, Lauren Sandtveit, and Megan Wagner.

The Brainics: Gabriella Montez, Taylor Bretzke; Taylor McKssie, Macy Risch; Martha Cox, Meredith Stowitts; Kratnoff, Vincent Frank; Megan Bouman, Brooke Helms,Rachelle HInken, Mallory Hicken and Rachel Nanzer.

The Skaters: Ripper, Tyler DeGood; Mongo, Calec Kellogg; Eliana Drake, Caroline Hamel, Secrett Hunt, Kylee Oaks and Anna Stanford.

The Cheerleaders: Carlie Bradford, Anteneah Bremby, Felicia Callahan, Anna Dutmers, Lainey Emerson, Dannah Gunn, Hadley Kerr, Mariah Meier, Hannah Sorensen and Devin Taber.

The Drum Line: Kaden Antcliff, Antenan Bremby Tyler Campbell, Julia Gabryah and Maddie Sorsen.

The Adults: Ms. Darbus, Jamee Gunn; Coach Bolton, Spencer Tower; Ms. Tenny, Susan Antcliff.

Crew: Jacky Hilliker, production stage manager; Hannah Collins and Erin Williams, assistant stage managers; Robert Ashley, Jeremy Carey, Kelsey Fonger, Gerrit Harding, Alex Ros, Sam Russell, Greg Pribble and Audra Tyler, sound crew; Robert Ahlsey, Justin Barr, Tyler Caterino, Brittney Carskadon, Seth Cole, Stephanie Doyle, Kody Goodgasell, Taylor Kirk, Jazmine Maguire, Mackenzie Miller, Hannah Nelson, Alex Ross and Sam Russell. Brittany Rhodes, fly crew; Tren Bartum, Breona Clifford Justin Barr, Emily Mulder, Deserai Kent and Brittany Rhodes, prop crew; Tren Bartum, Breona Clifford, Alexandrea Demorest, Brianna Shanahan, Aiden Tatum and Taylor Towned, costume crew; Lauren Bedford and Morgan Stark, make-up.

Adult Staff: Ruth Hansen, stage director; Joel Van Houten, assistant director; Joel Van Houten and Allyson Paris-Reitzenstein, vocal directors; Andrew Samson, vocal assistance; Jim Mason, choreographer; Kayle Clements, pit conductor/rehearsal pit; Chris Chapman, technical director/set design, Jacquelyn Soule, technical assistant; Annette Sandtveit and Sulayne Stowittls.

Pit: Kayle Clements, piano; Chris Schut, keyboard; Joe Dukes, bass; Glenn Bulthuis, guitar; Kaden VanPortfleet, drums; and Julia Gabrysh, percussion.

 Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.

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