This year, Miami High School is producing a play that most teenagers and those younger are very familiar with, “High School Musical on Stage!”
It will be performed on the stage of the Coleman Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 26.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and students and $7 each for those in groups of 15 or more.
Miami High School drama teacher and director of the school's annual play, Danny Dillon, had a hard time deciding on this year's production.
“There are certain plays the students have always wanted to do that I didn't feel comfortable with,” Dillon said. “I've always tried to do shows that have a positive message. One of the plays definitely says people should change, fit in, and I don't believe in that.
“I've ignored the other ‘High School Musical on Stage!' because I saw it as part of the Disney machine. But, I finally took a real look at it and saw the message the play had was really positive. I hope everyone will leave our performances feeling that you don't have to change for others to like you.”
As with most amateur productions, especially school ones, students and adults perform all roles - not just what they are listed as in the program.
Recently, Ron Stowell, Miami High School vocal teacher and music director for the play, helped drive the set to Miami.
Rented from a theater in Springfield, Mo., the school borrowed a truck from Westco to transport it.
Unfortunately, the stage of the Coleman will be occupied several times before the school is scheduled to use it so the set is being stored in town until it can be mounted on the stage.
“With complicated sets including a gym, theater and science lab, we were lucky to be able to rent them,” Dillon said. “The Springfield theater company was so nice, they even sent paint for any touch-ups we have to do.”
“The sets include everything from tables to desks to chairs,” Stowell said. “Just transporting them and storing them is a challenge.”
Stowell, who's very familiar with classical Broadway musicals, is not doing “High School Musical on Stage!” cold turkey.
“It's easy because I'm very familiar with it,” he said. “I have two granddaughters who know it word for word and sing it all the time.
“The challenge is that the music is harder for the singers with counter melodies in many of the songs. But, we've been blessed with some excellent singers on stage who are looking forward to performing the harmonies.”
Since it's first performance on Broadway, “High School Musical on Stage!” has become the fifth most performed play in American high schools, according to Time magazine.
Yet, teenagers and their parents should not expect the play to be a direct transfer from the television version.
Several new songs have been added as well as a new character, who sort of narrates activities as they did in the classical Greek plays.
Miami High School students with main roles include James Redden, Jordan Hesse, Kaden Nicholas, James Pickens, Tyler Lawson, Veronica Copher, Courtney Forkum, Derekka Dillon, Rylie Kinsey, Madeline Osborn, Kaylee Douthit, Shelby Porter, Lori Graham and Chastity McClintick.
One advantage to “High School Musical on Stage!” is that the costumes are, in general, just current teenage clothing.
“We did need special basketball team uniforms,” Dillon said. “We were able to borrow them from Picher High School.”
Choreography and dance instruction is being done by Catiri Leonard.
“I think people are going to love this show,” Dillon said. “It's a celebration of youth.”