High School Musical began in 2006 as an American romantic comedy with a strong musical element, made for teens.
It is among the most successful films Disney has produced, and its soundtrack has been a best-selling album.
Its story is about two high school students from rival cliques: Troy, captain of the basketball team; and Gabriella, a shy academic.
Trinity Catholic College will be performing a stage adaptation of the film in its school hall for four shows this week. Rowena Russell plays Gabriella, and Ethan Betts plays Troy, but director Jennifer Robinson is quick to acknowledge the show is a group effort.
“I think everyone has put in 100 per cent to their characters, be it one line or a featured role,” she said. “It’s quite an ensemble piece.
“I’m lucky to be able to work with them. They are just the most inspiring, professional kids. It’s incredible.
“The biggest surprise is how talented at dancing our rugby team is. That was probably the biggest shock!” she said with a laugh.
Ms Robinson, a history teacher, has 23 years of performing arts experience herself, involved in theatrical and musical societies in her home town in the Blue Mountains, and western Sydney.
She’s enthusiastic to be taking on a production alongside other term time comimtments, “but it’s the reason I got into teaching,” she said.
“I was always interested in books and the way the world worked, so [history] was my other big passion. I went to Newtown’s High School of the Performing Arts, and that gave me a dose of reality.
“Performing arts is amazing, but not a lot people make a career from it. So I pursued my other interests, which allowed me to become a more rounded person.
“I get paid to do something I love, and then on the side I get to do another passion of mine. So it keeps things broad, and interesting.”
Ms Robinson said it was also interesting to see how the kids in the classroom would become “this entirely different, more confident person, who has this whole other level to them” in the theatre,
“It allows me to get a deeper understanding of these kids and just how complex and talented they are in a lot of areas.
“You know, you have the quiet academic kid who just suddenly becomes extroverted and out there and talented on stage, and you just go, wow, where did you come from?”
It’s an interesting parallel to the High School Musical storyline.
“At the very centre of High School Musical is the blossoming relationship between Troy and Gabriella,” Ms Robinson said.
“She is very bookish, shy and introverted, while he is the confident, popular star of the basketball team, and they build a relationship, and through that relationship they discover a different side.
“Troy realises he doesn’t just want to be the star basketballer; he kind of wants to broaden his interests. Gabriella decides she wants to be, or that she is capable of being, in the spotlight.
“Then you have this host of supporting characters who also go through the whole ‘who am I?’ outside of how they are pigeonholed.
“It’s a fantastic message, especially coming from high school kids who are going through that: who am I, and what do I want to be?
“I mean, I’m still figuring it all out, and I’m well out of high school!”
Auditions and rehearsals for High School Musical began in 2016, Term 4, so it will be more than ready to wow audiences over its four-show run, May 18-20, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6pm (and a 1pm matinee).
Trinity Catholic College is on the corner of Clinton and College streets. Tickets: $20 adult, $15 concession, and $60 family (2/3).
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