Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Start of Something New

Posted by Bruce Miller

Something new and wonderful started tonight—Disney’s High School Musical. It is our second effort at bringing the Greater Richmond High School All Star Musical back to life, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with Opening Night. If I appear to be a little blog happy, please forgive me.

Among my favorite things about blogs are the labels that appear at the bottom of each post. If you become interested in someone or some event mentioned in a blog, and you want to read more about that person or production, you can click on the label at the bottom, and all other blog entries in which that person or play is mentioned will line up beneath the entry that first caught your eye. If you want to take the system for a test drive, just click Disney’s H in the labels below, and all blog entries about Disney’s High School Musical will instantly appear directly beneath this post.

The only problem is this—following each post, the system will allow you to enter only 20 labels consisting of no more than 200 characters. So, in order to give everyone the label they deserve, I have to divide my kudos sometimes so that only 20 names appear in any one entry. And I have to abbreviate longer labels so that I don’t exceed 200 characters.

So here’s Part II of my Opening Night coverage. And you're likely to find Parts III and IV close on this post’s heals.

To be honest, it’s been a rough tech week for Disney’s H. There are so many moving parts. Up to and including last night, major things seemed to go wrong at every rehearsal. But tonight the miracle happened, and everything magically came together. Three Wildcat Cheers and more for our magnificent Stage Manager, Ariel Osborne, and her stalwart Deck Chief, Jody Strickler. They kept their cool and kept the trains running, ably assisted by our outstanding high school running crew: Will Sowers, Collin Shelton, Jacob Brown, Margaret Gupton, Caitlyn Ofte, Karole Johnston, Michael Thibodeau, and Wendy Amadee.

Our pit band sounded amazing tonight, under Sherri Mathews inspired direction. Mike Williams, our drummer extraordinaire, is a student at Virginia Tech, and is returning to the Greater Richmond High School All Star Musical band after playing for Grease last summer. Michael couldn’t have a more impressive theatrical pedigree, being the son of father Eric Williams and stepmother Joy Williams, and mother Harriet Traylor and stepfather Doug Jones.

A 2004 grad of James Madison University, Kirk Jackson is new to our band, and we couldn’t be happier that he found us and agreed to play bass. Kirk teaches some lucky students at Thompson Middle School. He's certainly a talent we hope to hang on to.

Greg DeBruyn is our masterful guitarist, returning this summer after playing Beehive with us last summer at Steward School.

Lisa Pennington is our fifth and final musician. Manning our second keyboard, she helps Music Director Sherri Matthews cover all the string and wind instruments that don’t actually appear in our downsized band.

If you’re still looking for a reason to attend Disney’s High School Musical, hearing these first-rate musicians bring the memorable rock/pop score to life is in itself worth the $15 admission.

--Bruce Miller

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