Carmel Middle School takes on ‘High School Musical’

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By Jackie Grigg

“High School Musical Jr.” takes the full-scale production of “High School Musical,” weeds out the extra fluff, gets straight to the story and adapts it to middle school voices.

“When dealing with middle schoolers, you want to get to the point of the story and give them the most important pieces,” Carmel Middle School choral teacher Trisha Scheidies. “It shortens the show, too, because they want your young singers to not be on the stage as often, and a lot of people look for a junior show because there’s no intermission. Our cast is 50, and then we have our backstage, our costume crew, stage crew, technical crew, publicity crew, paint crew, makeup crew. We were able to involve about 150 kids.”

Carmel Middle School will present “High School Musical Jr.” Nov. 18-19. Performances are at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 and 1 and 7 p.m. Nov. 19.

Scheides said the production has an army of parent volunteers who head up volunteer committees.

Scheides serves as director, vocal director and producer. Philip Crawshaw, a professional dancer with Dance Kaleidoscope, is co-choreographing the show. Bernie Szuhaj, the auditorium manager at Carmel High School, has been helping on the technical side, along with two CHS school students who are helping bridge the gap between the middle and high school students and teach them more technical theater skills.

The cast and crew are comprised of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. Scheides estimates that 40 to 50 percent of the cast will have their first musical on stage experience with “High School Musical Jr.”

Micah Wangler, who plays the role of Troy Bolton, said he looks forward to participating in musicals when he is a freshman at CHS next year. Gracie Bender, a new CMS student, said being involved in the production helps her feel like she has a place. Bender plays Gabriella Montez. She was involved in a production of “Annie” last year.

Monroe Melton and Joaquin Valdiosera said they enjoy their respective roles of Ms. Darbus and Coach Bolton.

Valdiosera said his scenes with Ms. Darbus are great because the two are rivals and they get to act out shouting matches on stage. His friendship with Melton makes it even more fun, as the two get the opportunity to play off each other in rehearsals.

Melton, who said one of her favorite scenes is the homeroom scene, said her role in ‘High School Musical Jr.” made her feel accomplished as an actress.

For tickets, visit carmelms.booktix.com.

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