Singing and dancing will fill the stage at Christian Youth Theater Kane County's production of Disney's "High School Musical."
Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday at Burlington Central High School, 44W625 Plato Road, Hampshire. Tickets cost $11-14 and are available at www.cytchicago.org.
The Daily Herald caught up with director Christy Chapel of Elgin to learn more about the show. This will be the 12th CYT show that Chapel has had a hand in directing.
Q. Why did CYT choose "High School Musical" for its winter play?
Chapel. I think they probably picked "High School Musical" because it is such a great show and has so many roles for so many different ages. The music is so upbeat and energetic and audiences of all ages also love this show, so it's a great pick all around.
Q. How does the casting process work? How difficult is it to find young actors who can act, sing and dance?
Chapel. The casting process for any show is quite difficult really. Whether we are casting a show with 60 kids or 90 kids, the casting process is really like a puzzle. Each kid needs to fit into their role while still making sure that every other part is covered. Casting takes an entire weekend, starting with auditions, callback deliberations, then callbacks and casting deliberations. All of the students auditioning for our shows are also required to take a class, so they are all being trained in dance, acting, vocals, and specialty areas before even auditioning for our shows. This cast of 61 ranges in age from 8-18.
Q. Briefly explain the plot of this story.
Chapel. The story of "High School Musical" is one that I think everyone can relate to. In the beginning of our show, each clique is very closed off to one another. They each think that their group is the best and that they should stick with the students in their own groups. As the show continues, the groups get mixed together and they learn that they all have important gifts and talents to offer one another. It's a great story and the perfect way to talk to kids about accepting each other and celebrating the different gifts and talents we have to offer one another. This show also contains all the classic songs from High School Musical as well as a few that aren't in the movie.
Q. What have been some of the difficulties or challenges in putting together this production?
Chapel. One of the most difficult parts of this show has been creating a rehearsal schedule where we accomplish the most in a short amount of time. Because of the style of this show, so many characters are used in so many scenes. This makes it a challenge working on the show because we need all the characters in vocals, dance, and blocking at the same time.
Q. What have been some of the highlights?
Chapel. I think one of the highlights of this show has been seeing all their hard work come together and how much they help each other out during the rehearsal process. Each weekend they learn different pieces of the show and this past weekend, we were able to start running through the show from beginning to end. It's always a magical experience to see something that you have been working on for weeks start to come together and form a show.
My other favorite part about this show is the community that exists within CYT. The students all work together so much over the course of a show and they truly become like a tight family. The older ones look out for the younger ones and everyone helps each other to make sure they know what they need to for the show.
Q. What do you think audiences will like best about this show?
Chapel. So many kids grew up watching this movie and probably know all the words to the songs. I imagine most kids from that generation also know all the choreography to big songs from the movie as well, including, "We're All in This Together." We tried to stay true to the movie and choreography, so I think audiences are going to love coming to see this show and I hope it brings back good memories for everyone.