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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

High School Musical

High School Musical
Directed by Jamaal Solomon
Musical direction and choreography by Angelyn Rhode
Starring Janitzo Medina and Gabby Hatch
Breakthrough Theater
Winter Park, FL

There’s no lust like teen lust, and isn’t lust at the heart of most musicals? Troy Bolton leads his dad’s basketball team, and he falls for the new girl Gabriela (Hatch). She’s a retiring Brainiac, and gets talked onto the Science decathlon team because she can solve those musical theater chemistry problems like no one else. They accidentally sing a duet (“What I’ve Been Looking For”) and reluctantly pass auditions for the school play. That’s all puppies and paper hearts, but it damages the career of conniving Sharpay (Iris Johnson) and her brother Ryan (Jonathan Barreto). They ALWAYS lead the school musical, and the intrusion of fresh talent leads to a complicated Scooby Doo-like plot that shouldn’t bother you in the least. This is a Disney property, and you can be certain no one will leave disappointed.

There’s a particularity large cast on stage, and with a hard rain falling outside, they couldn’t really stash people out back. The chorus line was about as sharp as I’ve seen here, and the choreography by Angelyn Rhode looked good and no one ever crashed into another dancer. While Medina and Hatch worked as a couple, the strongest paring came from Johnson and Barreto; his vicious manipulation and his laid back “hey, it’s just a high school musical – look at the title” attitude made a good balance to his sister’s extremes. The responsible adults in the show, Rob DelMedico as coach and dad to Troy and Molly Hicks as the overwrought drama teacher Ms. Darbus came over as a bit overheated. DelMedico’s motivation was “I want my son to win the championship I never did” while Darbus relished all the bizarre acting rituals that infuse this world. There’s a ton of energy in this show, and don’t expect to clear the lobby quickly, but “High School Musical” shows just what you can do on one small stage with good dancing and NASA style planning. Perhaps we’ll see “Le Mis'” sometime soon on the Breakthrough stage…

For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com or look them up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Breakthrough-Theatre-of-Winter-Park/

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