Disney’s High School Musical – On Tour!

theater_hsm-sm.jpgThe new theatrical version of the show packed the Fox Theatre to the rafters with kids and their wallet-emptying parental units, who seemed to know the catchy tunes as well as their offspring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you were passing the Fox Theatre on Wednesday night and happened to witness what sounded like thousands of screaming teenage girls, you weren’t hearing things. Disney’s High School Musical – On Tour is the new stage version of the wildly successful 2006 Disney Channel Original movie, and its even more wildly successful sequel. How successful? The original 2006 Emmy-winning film reached 100 million viewers and delivered the #1 album of that year, as well as the #1 TV movie on DVD. The sequel continued that success, branching out into video games, best-selling junior novels, t-shirts, and a feature film due to arrive in theaters later this year.

The new theatrical version of the show packed the Fox to the rafters with kids and their wallet-emptying parental units, who seemed to know the catchy tunes as well as their offspring. For those who are not under 16 years old or without teenage children, let me help get you up to speed on what this stuff is all about. High School Musical is about a hot-shot basketball star named Troy and a beautiful, yet shy, brainiac named Gabriella who discover they both have a passion for singing. When they sign up to audition for the East High School musical, the social order of jocks and geniuses is thrown out of whack. Through the healing power of music, everyone gets in touch with their inner chi, find the courage to confess their hidden talents, and learn to allow each other to follow their dreams, in the grand Disney tradition of singing and dancing your problems far, far away.

Though the show may not feature the Disney film’s heartthrob du jour Zac Efron, who plays Troy in the movies, no one in the opening night audience seemed to mind one bit. Part of the reason is the exuberant performances of the young actors, many of them Broadway veterans, in the familiar roles of students and teachers of the fictional East High. John Jeffrey Martin filled Zac’s sneakers just fine, and led his fellow high-steppin’ cast members in a tightly choreographed and briskly paced production that earned the company a standing ovation at the end of the night. The impressive scenic and lighting design coupled with the snap and crackle direction of Jeff Calhoun guarantee that adults along for the ride will not be bored.

So, if you’re looking to be the cooler than cool authority figure and want to make a nice impression on your theater-deprived youngster, you wouldn’t be far wrong to rock out with the kids at East High. | Jim Ousley

 

High School Musical continues at the Fox Theatre through January 13. Tickets range from $20-62. For more information, visit the Fox Theatre online or call 314-534-1111.

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