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Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider (MI)

In the spotlight
RJHS students will perform 'High School Musical'

MARIA ALLARD C & G Staff Writer  
Published: February 6, 2008
ROSEVILLE - The "High School Musical" mania has sung and danced its way onto the Roseville Junior High School auditorium stage. This weekend, a cast of talented students from the RJHS Drama Club will perform the hit Disney musical. They've been rehearsing for several weeks to learn their parts and can't wait to "break a leg." The students auditioned for their roles.

"High School Musical," which began as a television movie and morphed into a stage play, merchandising craze and more, tells the story of two high school kids - Troy and Gabriella - from different worlds who meet at a karaoke bar. They meet up again at school when Gabriella's family is relocated to the town where Troy lives.

Eighth-grader Danny Maya is playing Troy, who Maya said is the school's basketball star. Eighth-grader Sarah Johnson nabbed the plum role of Gabriella, who she described as a "math geek."

In the play, it turns out both kids love to perform, and therefore try out for the school play although they don't want their friends to find out because "everyone sticks to their own cliques," Johnson said. Theatergoers will have to tune in to see how the story unravels.

Johnson, who's "always been a singer," was a fan of "High School Musical" when it first came out.

"Just the music in general was really good," she said.

Maya's brother was a fan of the movie, so he checked it out.

Teacher Amanda Griebe is overseeing the production with help from other staff members, including music teacher Michel James. A pit band will perform the musical numbers needed for the show, and teachers Ryan Hansen and Natalie Udell and counselor Marie Oleksiak have been cast in roles.

Also helping out is RJHS ninthgrader and student director Samantha McLeod, whose twin sister Nicole is playing the role of Sharpay. Samantha was in charge of the choreography, too. Samantha studied the movie's fancy footwork for ideas.

"Me and my sister came up with a lot of the moves," Samantha said. "The choreography part is a lot of work."

Samantha is a fan of the musical.

"I like that people are coming out of their shell and they're daring to be different," Samantha said.

"I like how the songs tie into everything," Nicole said. This is Nicole's first play.

"I'm so excited about it," said Nicole, adding she plays "the mean girl," which her friends have jokingly chided her about.

Eighth-grader Justin Barhydt will bring the character of Ryan to life on the RJHS stage. The acting bug has bit him hard.

"Maybe this will start off a career and I can start being in other plays," he said.

The Drama Club is new this year, and somewhat replaced a theater class no longer offered at the school.

Griebe chose "High School Musical" because of its popularity with kids right now. She also likes the friendship aspect of the story.

"Every school has a problem with cliques," she said. "The message is, we're all in this together."

"High School Musical" will be performed at 7 p.m. Feb. 7-8, and 2 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Roseville Junior High School Auditorium at 16250 Martin Road in Roseville. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children 18 and younger. Tickets are available at the door.

You can reach Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586) 498-1045.

Caption:Photo by Erin Sanchez Roseville Junior High School ninth-grader Nicole McLeod is portraying Sharpay in the musical.

Photo by Erin Sanchez The Roseville Junior High School Drama Club members rehearse a number for this weekend's production of "High School Musical."

Copyright, 2008, Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider (MI), All Rights Reserved.

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