The recipe calls for the following: 50 crazy teenagers and young adults from all walks of life; a few adults who are kids at heart; a high school drama teacher willing to devote most of his summer to a huge project; a theatre where dreams come true and friendships are forged; and an amalgamation of funny lines, high-energy songs, loveable characters, and a message with surprising depth.
At this point, you may be wondering what on earth this recipe creates.
The most obvious answer is the Terrace Plaza Playhouse's fabulous production of Disney's High School Musical. But also, and perhaps more importantly, these ingredients combine to form an armada of friends, a summer full of memories that will last forever, and a family forged in the hours we spent trying to make something beautiful happen.
Carisa Baker, sophomore at Syracuse High School, says she enjoyed doing the show.
“I got to meet a lot of really great people that I wouldn't have met otherwise. I have really enjoyed doing HSM and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to participate,” Baker said.
Most cast members agree that one of the big differences from high school theatre was the diversity of the cast. Cyprus High School junior Jordan Ray said meeting “a lot of fantastic people” was great; many schools from multiple districts had students involved with the production.
Naomi Wood, a junior at Clearfield High School, said, “Our play brought together a group of kids who didn't know (each other), unlike high school productions.”
Of course there were upsides and downsides to having such a spread-out cast. Many students drove for 30 minutes or more to reach the playhouse. However, Box Elder High School junior Hannah Wood said it paid off.
“I made a long commute from Brigham City to rehearse and perform every day, and I can honestly say it was all worth it,” Wood said.
With auditions in May, summer rehearsals, and a performance schedule running from Aug. 8 through Sept. 20, the production was a great chance for young people to explore community theatre while remaining involved with their high school or college theatre programs.
Some, however, such as Baker and Clearfield High School junior Austin Burt, discovered that they liked community theatre even better than what goes on at their schools.
“High school is awesome and all, but the Terrace Plaza Playhouse has always had a special place in my heart!” Burt said.
Throughout the process, the guidance of Mark Daniels, High School Musical director and theatre teacher at Weber High, was exceptional.
“I think Mark did an amazing job as the director. Our rehearsal schedule was really well-organized," Baker said.
As community theatre often struggles to stay on schedule, it was a testiment to Daniels to keep everything on track. Daniels made the decision to double-cast the show entirely.
(Although I feel great affection toward my own Cast B, I made wonderful friendships with the equally talented Cast A.)
This made it possible for twice the amount of kids to be in the show, but it also meant rehearsing with two casts at a time, which could have been chaotic. Fortunately, Daniels runs a tight ship; the entire cast expressed much gratitude for his smooth, skillful, and orderly directing style.
Burt said Daniels was his "favorite director ... and shows all of the cast how much fun shows really can be!"
Bonneville High School junior Kelan Combe added, "We hit a few road blocks during the process, of course, but we quickly overcame those to produce a show that the whole family can enjoy."
Without our fantastic director, as well as energetic choreographer Bailee DeYoung, powerful music director Cindy Irvine, and wonderful producer Jacci Florence, we never would have been able to succeed.
Hannah Wood summed up the experience: "Obviously High School Musical is ... cheesier than cheese, but the friendships formed and the memories made sure can't be topped."
If you're interested in seeing the show, visit terraceplayhouse.com to buy tickets.