Saturday, July 21, 2007

Meet More "High School Musical" All Stars

One of the interesting things about blogs is that when you write them, the most recent posting appears on top. So if you’re writing a series of six, and you post each part as soon as it’s finished, Part II will appear above Part I, and Part III will appear above Part II, etc. Readers who come along two days later will, most likely, start reading from the top and scroll their way down. So the reading experience can often feel like you’re starting at the back of the book and working your way forward.

Anyway, this is my fourth entry about last night’s triumphant opening of Disney’s High School Musical, and it makes a crazy sort of sense to read my ruminations in reverse order. After all, this is the post where I start boasting about the uber talented ensemble—the 29 gifted kids who aren’t playing the leads. In many ways, the ensemble is the star of the show.

One of our goals with the Greater Richmond High School All Star Musical is to give kids from throughout the Metro Richmond area a chance to work with and get to know each other. The 39 kids who started out in Disney’s High School Musical (we’re now down to 38 due to the departure of one actor who couldn’t make it to rehearsals on time) live in 19 different zip codes!

Our diverse talent pool includes (in alpha order):

Kristen Barney, a rising junior at Deep Run H S, is an accomplished veteran of Christian Youth Theatre and appeared with us last summer as Patty Simcox in Grease. When you see Disney’s High School Musical, Kristen is the beautiful blond who shows off her legit soprano, with exaggeration, in the audition number.

Emlyn Crenshaw, a rising freshman at Maggie Walker Governor’s School (keep your eyes open for this one, Grant), brilliantly played the role of Scout in Barksdale’s To Kill a Mockingbird. At Theatre IV, Emlyn appeared in A Christmas Carol, Honk!, Snow White and the …, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Emlyn is the tiny one who’s accomplished dancing will catch your eye front-and-center with the cheerleaders.

Gray Crenshaw—the other half of one of our two sibling pairs—is a rising senior at Freeman H S, where she played Zaneeta in The Music Man and Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. Last summer, Gray brought down the house with us as Frenchie in Grease. In DHSM, she’s the one girl who appears incognito as a boy in Getcha Head in the Game.

D J Cummings, a rising senior at Deep Run H S, is a vet of CYT and his high school drama department. Last summer he worked as a production assistant with a professional children’s theatre company in NYC. In the audition scene, he’s the third of the three bohemians, clad all in black. He gets his big laugh by spouting a garble of dolphin noises (or is it a nervous giggle?) for his vocal audition.

Dwayne A. Daniels II, a rising senior at Varina H S, is an active member of his school’s show choir. Dwayne has a stand-out moment during Getcha Head in the Game, sharing a duet with Andrew Schappacher, rapping “And Troy boy Troy be cuttin’ de net.” And on the title page of the script, Disney credits 13 people as lyricists.

Peter Davis is a rising sophomore at Godwin H S, where he knocked us dead as Wally in The 1940s Radio Hour and Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you want to identify Peter, he’s the skater dude who asks if you have to wear a costume to play the cello, and when he hears about the coat and tie, replies, “That’s uncalled for!” From off-stage, he also shouts “Come on, Wildcats,” the first line in the show.

Kelsey Donner is a rising sophomore at Westminster Academy. She just appeared at the Firehouse in RED, and is an alum of the training programs at Richmond Ballet and Bon Air Dance, and the summer theatre program at Luther Memorial. A petite blond dancer, Kelsey is one of our outstanding cheerleaders and a particularly limber gymnast in Stick to the Status Quo.

Rachel Dozier is about to begin her senior year at Godwin. She’s the second black-clad bohemian in the audition scene. Dylan Moon speak-sings “It’s hard to believe…” and Rachel continues that thought, speak-singing “…that I couldn’t see,” immediately followed by D J Cummings and his dolphin noises (or are they the blips that R2D2 would make when his hard drive is getting fried?)

Patrick Dunnevant just graduated from Godwin, and will be majoring in music composition next year at Belmont University in Nashville. In the show, he’s one of our basketball playing jocks, and during the Counting on You locker room scene, he shouts out the name of basketball legend “Thunderclap Hap Haddon.”

It’s a good thing that the magnificent Cramer Center at Steward School has such a large stage. We need it to accommodate our overwhelming overflow of talent. To learn more about the remaining twenty All Stars, scroll up!

--Bruce Miller

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