In a case of art imitating life or life imitating art, Freeport Area High School will present Disney’s “High School Musical,” Thursday through Sunday at the district’s middle school.
The story centers on two East High students, Troy and Gabriella, and their audition for a school musical in which they go against the status quo.
“The musical has been on students’ radars for a long time,” said Tom Koharchik, producer of the musical and director of the high school choir from grades 6 through 12.
The musical has been around for about 15 years, adapted for the scene from the 2006 Disney film of the same name.
“A lot of people will know the movie and find songs they’ve loved for a long time,” Koharchik said. “People will see an energetic presentation and have a lot of fun.”
The show features approximately 63 cast members and 20–25 students in the stage crew and pit band.
Residents attending the play will have an immersive experience, similar to visiting East High, Koharchik said.
Katelyn Hemphill, 15, who plays Gabriella, said she loves her character, who she describes as kind and open-minded.
“Throughout the show, Gabriella comes out of her shell,” said Hemphill, of Freeport, who is in her sophomore year. “I enjoyed playing her because there was a lot of growth in her character.”
Hemphill’s favorite part of the production was the casting.
“There is an energy there. We are great friends and we support each other.
Nate Covey, 16, a junior from Buffalo Township, said he relates to his character, a basketball player. Similar to Troy, Covey is a school athlete who plays lacrosse and golf.
“Singing was empowering and interesting,” Covey said. He was surprised by the amount of practice and repetition required to sing.
“It was a really good experience,” he said. “As good as it is an experience for me, hopefully it’s good for the audience as well.”