High School Musical Comes To Life In 24 Hours

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High School Musical Comes To Life In 24 Hours

Anna Claire Boone, Staff Writer

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On Saturday May 25, the Wylie theater department began a new new tradition called the 24-Hour Musical. Exactly as it sounds, this is a full length show put on in a span of 24 hours. It was a great success for all involved.

Freshman Mason Kerby as basketball star/musical prodigy Troy Bolton.

Freshman Kyla Sutton as new girl Gabriella Montez.

The first step of the 24-hour is preparation. The show that is being performed is not announced until the first hour of the 24, so the production team has to have everything prepared ahead of time. Mr. Shoemake did not direct this musical; instead, it was student directed. Every category that needed to be covered – choreography, directing, music, and tech – was led by a duo of student and graduate. Recent Wylie graduates Corban Gilliland, Madison Murgia, Peyton Bourland, Maddie Lowry, Nicole Wilkins, and Olivia McCain partnered up with students Kathlyn Messer, Nicole Englin, Anna Claire Boone, and McKenna Jones to run the show. When they released the title of the show – cult classic High School Musical – and the cast, everyone was ecstatic and eager to begin the process.

The cheerleaders pose with Melia Messer as mean girl superstar Sharpay Evans.

The cast was led mainly by newcomers. In the roles of star-crossed lovers Troy Bolton “the Basketball Boy” and math whiz Gabriella Montez were freshmen Mason Kerby and Kyla Sutton. Kerby has never been involved in theater before, but is an experienced singer, having won Abilene Idol earlier this year. Sutton has been performing in musicals and dance shows for years, so their combined musical prowess made it easy for them to handle the pressure of learning all the material in the short time span. As the other two leads, dynamic duo Sharpay and Ryan Evans, were sophomore Melia Messer and senior Joshua Shuler. These two have both been in theater a while, so they helped move along the process smoothly and efficiently. The other principle duo was made up of sophomores Trystan Harris and Mark Huffines playing the heads of the two cliques – Harris as brainiac Taylor McKessie and Huffines as jock Chad Danforth. These two are both in choir but were the least experienced in theater. All six of these actors rose to the occasion and gave a great show.

Rounding out the cast was Rachel White as Kelsi Nielsen, Caleb Speights as Coach Bolton, Anisha Moolipuri as Ms. Darbus, Avery French as Martha Cox, and Aaron Ramos as Zeke Baylor.

Anisha Moolipuri leads a scene as the enthusiastic theater teacher Ms. Darbus in the first run-through.

The cast list was released at 4:00 PM on Friday, and the cast was called to the Performing Arts Center at 5:00. From 5:00 to 1:00 AM, the cast worked hard on learning the music and choreography. Then at 1:00, everyone got a break to go home, shower, get some sleep, and be back at the PAC at 6:00 the next morning. Messer recalls a huge group Facetime call between herself, Sutton, Shuler, and Kerby to run lines over the break, stating that she didn’t think “most of the leads slept that night.” Another group who did not get too much rest over the break was the student directors. Music director Anna Claire Boone was up all night studying parts and choreography, and the graduate directors were up at the school several hours past the break time.

Music director duo Maddie Lowry and Anna Claire Boone celebrate post-show.

Senior and assistant choreographer Kathlyn Messer (center) leads the cast in a final bow.

As soon as the cast was back up at the school again, we immediately started a read through, then plunged back into blocking and choreography. We worked diligently until noon when we were released for another hour-long shower break. Upon returning, we started two full run throughs and by that point, 7:00 had rolled around, and it was time to start the show. It was a great turn out, and we managed to raise a lot of money for our department. This was a great first year of this new tradition, and we already can’t wait for next year!