Sunday, May 06, 2007

Disney’s High School Musical On Stage

Blue Monkey Theater
Posted by Followspot May 5, 2007; closes May 27, 2007

Somewhere between Saved by the Bell and Fame. What worked: Refreshingly contemporary, age-appropriate material; huge, energetic, gregarious, fun-loving cast clearly celebrating process. Without scoring on curve, however, final grade dips mostly due to muddled staging of another medium’s book. Two leads earn extra credit when they present their natural charm.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you have kids and they've seen the movie, and they love it, they will LOVE this production. I was not expecting a whole lot (although secretly, I thought the movie was very well done) and I was pleasantly surpised by this production. The leads were great and my 6 yr. old daughter is still raving it's the "best show" she's ever seen (and she's seen a lot!)

Anonymous said...

What a show! Troy Bolton, played by Lance Geller was great, great voice and great talent. Gabrella was pretty good...singing ok, acting good. Ryan was a crack up and fun loving pretty good voice and Sharpay was very good in the role she played. All together myself and kids included loved the show. I strongly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a wonderful high energy show. Highly recommend as family outing. The leads, Lance and Vanessa are a talented duo.

Teo said...

A for effort.

Anonymous said...

After so much response to Blue Monkey's Aladdin and Romeo & Juliet earlier this season, I'm surprised High School Musical's kind of being looked over here on the blog. Is it that people just don't want to go see the show, even to see if Blue Monkey could pull it off?

Anonymous said...

I think it's more fun to trash a show than to praise one. I guess some people can't seem to find anything bad to say about High School Musical so they aren't saying anything.

But audiences are attending. I hear they are selling out all over the place. Standing O the night I saw it. So a lack of a few Followspot Bloggers isn't hurting their box office any.

I'm waiting for some of the people who were such doom sayers about Monteverdi and his chances of pulling off this show to step up now and give the guy his props.
The limited run of The Wrestling Season last month topped even Montevedi's previous NWCT version. So I think the company is headed in the right direction.

Blue Monkey is an impressive new part of the Portland Theater community and in one year has gone from nothing at all to producing one of the best, most high energy musicals of the season. Go Monkeys!

Anonymous said...

Best thing yet from BM

Anonymous said...

I dunno about that. It's a good show, but I think R&J had better acting.

It all depends on what you're looking for, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. So, much for presenting a fresh new voice in theater. The kids are talented, but I hardly find doing Disney shows challenging and "fearless". And I know they did Romeo and Juliette and Wrestling Season, but still, they are leaning more towards Disney stuff. Not so "fearless". More like safe and patronizing.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify Anon 11:03's post, I believe he/she is referring to Blue Monkey's mission statement (although they don't actually call it that on their site):

Blue Monkey Theater Company is about taking artistic risks, coloring outside the lines and empowering the unique, fresh, fearless voice of the young artist. We're committed to expanding the vision of what theater for young people is and can be, by creating theater experiences that are challenging, honest and fearless. If you can't be brave when you're young, when can you be?

Anonymous said...

R&J and Wrestling Season did just that, though, didn't they?

And there's more than one way to take risks and be fearless.

You can't be edgy with every show.

But perhaps one Disney show a season is enough....

Anonymous said...

Well High School Musical, the show it's self, is about taking risks and coloring outside of the lines. By breaking the social barrier and stepping out of the cliques for a really cheese corn ball show I think it has a great message and sticks to the mission statement

Simon said...

Due to an overwhelming amount of interest, High School Musical will be extending its run an extra weekend. The dates and times for the extended performances are as follows:

Friday, June 1 at 7pm
Saturday, June 2 at 2pm
Sunday June 3 at 2 pm

So there's this weekend, the 25th-27th, and next weekend. That's two more whole weekends to come on out and see the Monkeys!

Anonymous said...

i think high school musical was a poor choice, besides the fact that they will make oodles of money off it.

Brandee said...

Is it a poor choice because you don’t think it fits the mission statement or because it was too 'easy' to put on?

I think it fits our mission statement just fine.Teenagers range from 13-19. This show seemed to be geared toward the younger audience. R&J and Wrestling Season were for the older.

Anonymous said...

I too think two Disney shows in one seaon is too much. Especialy for a theater looking to think outside the box for teens. I'll be interested in the next season of shows. maybe they needed to make money the first season. Sounds like they are making money, but they can do more chalenging shows next year. Really doing High School Musical-is it that challenging of a show?

Anonymous said...

obviously it's not much of a challenge, it is however a money maker. I condemn the theater, for literally being fearless for working with teens. It shows how many talented teens are in the Portland area. I too would love to see more high school-y shows like the wrestling season...there are plenty of shows out there that have to do with school shootings, coming of age,more deeper stuff then what a Disney show would have. However the Disney show does have a good message to it.Over all. Good show, good choice, happy that it is extended way to go!

Follow Spot said...

I'm pretty sure the previous poster meant "commend" not "condemn" ....

Anonymous said...

I think this season reflected some variety even with two Disney shows but I'm not surprised they leaned a little heavier on the commercial stuff their first year out. That's not "patronizing". It's probably smart and it sounds like the success of High School Musical will ensure that the company will be around for another year.

Is anyone giving ART a hard time for doing It Came From Way Out There? Or PCS for doing Cabaret and Christmas Carol? Or Stumptown for making a bunch of money off of Grease? Every theater does what it needs to do to keep it's doors open. High School Musical is a fluff piece, but it is a very well done fluff piece and it showcases a lot of amazing young talent.

Good for them for extending.

Anonymous said...

Thank you followspot...the word was on the tip of my tounge. Commend, yes!

Anonymous said...

Business is business, and this show is good business.

It's also fun, well played, and a crowd pleaser.

See it.

Anonymous said...

Lance Geller has serious talent. Incredible voice, charm, that kid is going places. Vanessa sounds great two, and the pair of them are perfect together. Yay! for good acting and great singing all around. A very enjoyable evening.

Anonymous said...

From what I saw on the Saturday evening performance: Lance Geller, I agree what great charm and talent! Subtle but decent acting choices, incredable voice...I do have to contridict myself a tad, however, and say that his character may have been be a bit too real...it seemed as if he was just playing himself. I don't him personally, but it just didn't seem like he stretched himself enough out of his box. His great persona and charm came through vividly though. Derek Herman, as Ryan was one of my favorites, awesome character, also has a lot of great persona charm. His vocal quality was ok at fist, but then he blew me out of the water in his solo at the end of the show. I have to say the two leading ladies weren't my favorite, they didn't complement the gentlemen very well. Chelsey Smith (Sharpay)seemed too focused on being the rude and over the top and couldn't quite get her words out and articulated. And Vanessa Wilkins was just a little bland all around as Gabrella. The ensemble cast were impressive. Other enjoyable performances: Derek Gullick-Stutz as Jack Scott, and Elanore Bray as Gabrella's best friend (can't think of her name...) If you haven't gone to see it, I think it's worth the 20$. And now that they have extended you have no exsuse!

Anonymous said...

As someone who actually knows Lance, the role really isn't much of a stretch for him. In real life, he's a popular, high school jock-type who plays basketball but also likes to sing and act. Lance kind of "is" Troy Bolton. You can't come down on the guy because his role isn't enough of a stretch. That's just good casting.
I also totally disagree about Vanessa Wilkins. She is charming, beautiful, has a lovely voice and tons of warmth on stage. Her character is shy and intelligent and as anyone who has ever had to play one of those roles can tell you, the sweet, quiet ingenue girls are really hard to make very interesting. Vanessa does as much as you can with the role and she and Lance center the show with characters you like and a sweet, little "puppy love" story.
Great choreography by the way, and the cast sounds super. I know there is a big discussion over on the Oklahoma blog about mics. The mics totally work on this show. I couldn't imagine it without them.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the adults. Sarah Dresser as the crazy Drama Coach more than holds her own with the kids. In fact, she steals every scene she's in!

Anonymous said...

Agreed! Working with teenagers is scary, I can only imagine all those teeny boppers and the poor adults that have to deal with them. The adults are a great duo. I thought the dancing was a little to snappy clappy though.

Anonymous said...

Why are folks so upset with the choice of shows. High School Musical is a great ensemble piece. The hope of young people theatre is to allow many to try their hand at what they love. This show took a lot of hard work by a great cast of kids and for those thinking its okay to belittle their work....its disheartening....I guess my question to you...when do we get to see you up on stage....and if you think you can do better where is your young peoples theatre company.

Anonymous said...

Good run Blue Monkey! Lance and "Gabriella" sounded terrific together and
Derek Herman was a funny Ryan - he can really do comedy. Sharpay was not much of a dancer and her voice was the weakest in the cast. Hard to listen to her. Overall very enjoyable - what's on for next season?

Anonymous said...

as a member of the show it is so interesting to read over all of these comments, the show was a lot of hard work and commitment. i had a wonderful time. next season should be very good, i look forward to it!

the adults in the show were wonderful, we were all friends with them and found them hilarious. the whole cast was very close. and i will miss a lot of them!

Anonymous said...

Lance Geller is a stone cold fox. throughout the entire show iwas aroused watching him. that kid has such remarkable vocal range and realistic acting skills. his face brings joy to my day. the rest of the cast was decent, except for jason means who was infinately better than lance. His milk chocolate skin and bouncing curls made the show come alive with passion. Bravo! Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Just found this past post, and I sincerely hope that the previous poster was joking, because that's a little creepy.

Meanz said...

Um..yeah..that was kind of creepy but thanks..I guess?