High energy high school students pack Drayton musicals audition

Last year, a high school student won a place in a production of Drayton Entertainment’s High School Musical – and this year, she is back – as a paid professional.

Executive Producer of Drayton Entertainment Steve Roth said that for the teens on stage auditioning for a minor role in the coming High School Musical, “The pay comes in the experience.” He then noted for some it will really pay off down the road.”

“We need 30 to 48 [actors] total” he said of actors playing those roles. The 24 girls already on stage would have been thrilled to hear him add, “There’s a good chance most of them will be a part of the show – which is great.”

Roth laughed when reminded that all those auditioning in the morning at J.F. Ross Collegiate in Guelph were girls.

He said at most auditions, girls outnumber boys by a three to one ratio.

“Boys are a challenge,” he conceded. “This morning, we got zero.” But, he added, “We will find some.”

Many of those hoping to land a role were from Wellington County

As an added incentive, he noted that some boys just might be quick enough to realize that the theatre is a great place to meet girls.

Drayton Entertainment needs so many high school students for the show because the musical’s run is four weeks, with eight shows a week, and many of them matinees. Roth said it would be unfair to take the same students out of school for so much time, so there will be numerous actors who will have a chance to perform on stage. Those chosen will be divided into groups of 12 – and each group will take the stage for one week.

High School Musical is a stage version of the record breaking Disney Channel origi­nal movie. It’s the story of two teenagers – Troy, a popular high school basketball star, and Gabriella, a shy, academically gifted newcomer, who discover they share a secret passion for singing.

Canadian pop singer Melissa O’Neil, who reached star­dom as the winner of Canadian Idol, will reprise her role as Gabriella in this highly anticipated production.

Roth said that students can’t help but learn a lot about performing with such a professional working alongside them.

On the stage, director David Connolly was speaking to those seeking a role. He asked if they were nervous and about half held up their hands. He said nerves for a performer are good, and they will learn to channel that nervousness to create a better performance.

He also told them not to worry about their singing or dancing ability. He said they will learn that during rehear­sals.

He also worked quickly to get them into musical mode. He asked several of them to stand and sing their names.

During a break for photos, most of them started working on dance steps in groups of four and five.

Connolly told the two dozen girls that having a passion for theatre is much more important than their current abilities, and they can all learn a lot as they go. “We have people who have been dancing since they were five,” he said. “It [ability to dance] wasn’t a requirement.”

Tickets are on sale through the box office at 1-888-449-4463.