Get'cha Head in the Game: High School Musical Makes Legit Atlanta Bow Jan. 12

News   Get'cha Head in the Game: High School Musical Makes Legit Atlanta Bow Jan. 12 Broadway's Ron Bohmer and Alison Fraser star as the adult characters in the Southern legit premiere of Disney's High School Musical, Jan. 12-28 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
John Jeffrey Martin and Ensemble Cast sing
John Jeffrey Martin and Ensemble Cast sing "Get'cha Head In The Game" in High School Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus

Directed by Broadway's Jeff Calhoun, the production by Theater of the Stars is one of five Equity productions of the property in the coming year. (The Equity world premiere came earlier this month, in a staging by The Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis.) The stage musical has its roots in a TV movie musical seen on the Disney Channel in 2006. The TV musical exploded in the ratings and spawned a hit soundtrack album and hit singles.

If you talk to anyone under the age of 17, they probably know "Disney's High School Musical" — and will clamor for it on the legit stage, in its concert form or in its licensable school version. There's a TV sequel in the works as well.

Theatres around the country are programming the show in one form or another to lure a fresh, young audience.

Bohmer, recently of Broadway's The Woman in White, and Tony Award nominee Fraser, of The Secret Garden and Romance/Romance, respectively play Coach Bolton (Troy's dad) and the drama teacher, Mrs. Darbus in the Atlanta run.

High School Musical offers a teen romance in which a jock (Troy) and a brain (Gabrielle) find love and conflict as they get involved in the production of their — guess what? — high school musical. Their friends have other ideas for them, but ultimately they all find common ground and prove that friendship and loyalty are more important than clinging to the "roles" they play in real life. The TOTS production of Disney's High School Musical features John Jeffrey Martin (Broadway's The Rocky Horror Show) as basketball star Troy Bolton; Arielle Jacobs as beautiful brainiac Gabriella Montez; Shakiem Evans (Broadway's Mamma Mia!) as Chad Danforth, Troy's hip best friend and teammate; Shaullanda Lacombe as Gabriella's new best friend and fellow brainiac Taylor McKessie; Bobby List as hat aficionado and musical theatre veteran Ryan Evans; Michael Mahany as Jack Scott, sports announcer for the Wildcats and the official voice of East Side High; Patti Murin as East High's theatre diva, Sharpay Evans; and Olivia Oguma (Broadway's Mamma Mia!) as the nerdy songwriter and pianist Kelsi Neilson.

The cast of the Theater of the Stars production of Disney's High School Musical includes 10 principal actors, 18 ensemble chorus members and 14 local teen extras.

The Broadway-style musical features all the hit songs from the 2006 movie. There are a number of songwriters credited for penning the original score, a patchwork of pop numbers. The stage score includes "Wildcat Cheer," "Start of Something New," "Get'cha Head in the Game," "Bop to the Top," "What I've Been Looking For," "Cellular Fusion," "Stick to the Status Quo," "I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "Counting on You," "When There Was Me and You," "We're All in This Together," "Breaking Free," "High School Musical Megamix."

The book, adapted from the teleplay, is by David Simpatico.

Director Calhoun is the award-winning director and choreographer of the ground-breaking Deaf West production of Big River; Brooklyn; and the 1990s Broadway revival of Grease!. His Broadway choreographic credits include Annie Get Your Gun, Bells Are Ringing and The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public.

His work is also seen in the musical staging for Broadway's current Grey Gardens.

The High School Musical creative team at TOTS includes Bryan Louiselle as music director and Lisa Stevens as choreographer.

Louiselle was hired by Disney to adapt the music for High School Musical from the screen to the stage. He is the resident music supervisor, adaptor and recordings producer for Music Theatre International and Disney Kids, Jr.

The design team consists of Kenneth Foy (scenic), Ken Billington (lighting), Duncan Edwards (sound) and Wade Laboissonniere (costume).

Children's music director is Bill Newberry.

Tickets are available now at www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at (404) 817-8700 and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

Following two days of previews, opening is Jan. 14.

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Theater of the Stars is celebrating its 54th anniversary this year as one of the nation's major regional theatre companies. A civic non-profit cultural organization, Theater of the Stars is dedicated to presenting and producing the best in musical theatre.

To learn more, visit www.theaterofthestars.com.

Christopher B. Manos is producer of Theater of the Stars.

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The five current or coming resident Equity productions of Disney's High School Musical are being produced by:

  • Children's Theater Company, Minneapolis, MN (Jan. 3-March 11)
  • Theatre of the Stars, Atlanta, GA (Jan. 14-28)
  • Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh, PA (June 5-17)
  • Music Theatre of Wichita, Wichita, KS (June 13-17)
  • North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly, MA (July 3-20)
  • Patti Murin and Bobby List in "What I've Been Looking For" in <i>High School Musical</i>.
    Patti Murin and Bobby List in "What I've Been Looking For" in High School Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus