Review: Two Thumbs Up for High School Musical


Danielle Lippert, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Finally, Notre Dame is doing just about everyone’s favorite musical: High School Musical. I had the privilege of seeing the show’s dress rehearsal Tuesday night, and I was truly knocked off my feet.

The musical started a little different than the movie, but it still fit really well. It’s a little bit of a different version from the original beginning song, “Start of Something New.” It added in what the main characters wanted to do in their new year. The cast was sprawled across the stage in their social groups as the characters were introduced through the opening song. The original “Start of Something New” is seen later in the musical when Troy and Gabriella reunite.

Troy Bolton is played by Ben Richards, and Gabriella Montez is played by Ella Hunt. The two definitely deserved these roles. They were stunning on stage and had great chemistry. I couldn’t get enough of Hunt’s voice, and she made an amazing Gabriella.

The school’s mean girl Sharpay Evans is played by Katie Romes, and her twin brother Ryan Evans is played by Paul Gapinski in his Notre Dame musical debut. The siblings had great chemistry and acted exactly how normal siblings act. Ryan was one of my favorite characters. As the voice of reason in the musical, he’s the only one who knows what he’s doing and what he wants the whole musical.

Troy’s best friend Chad Danforth is played by Charlie Urick, and Gabriella’s best friend Taylor McKessie is played by Hailey Gutowski. Both actors fit their roles perfectly. Charlie Urick, a regular in the Notre Dame musicals, did an astounding job as Chad and played the “dumb” parts really well.

The composer Kelsi Nielsen is played by Marion Hermitanio. She did so well in the role of Kelsi. Not only did Hermitanio sing, act and dance, but she also played the piano on stage. She really did it all.

One of my favorite characters would have to be Ms. Darbus played by Katrina Dietsche. I don’t think anyone could have played this role any better than she did. This role seemed made for Dietsche.

When I saw Ashland Falls, I was amazed at how the actors stayed in character in the background. Well, Mrs. Gilson has done it again. The characters stayed in character the whole time. Even when it was difficult, with three scenes on the stage at once, the cast really pulled it off.

An addition to the musical that I loved was the amount of times the cast was out in the audience. The cast would line the aisles and sing and dance just like they would if they were on stage. It’s things like this that make you feel like you’re IN the musical. Also, I loved that Troy and Gabriella ran from the back of the auditorium, just like they did in the movie.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie and in the musical was when Gabriella sang “When There Was Me and You.” In the movie, Gabriella sings the song alone as she walks throughout the school. In the musical, Gabriella is still the main part, but Troy sings parts of it as well. The cast was also lined up in the aisles and singing along. I was stunned at how good it sounded.

At the end, the musical was wrapped up with a personal favorite, “We’re all in This Together.” As you can imagine, having about 50 people all dancing on stage at once could be difficult, but this cast pulled it off really well.

To repeat myself, everyone stayed in character the whole time, even while singing and dancing. I never saw anyone fall out of character.

Overall, the musical was astounding. I held high expectations for High School Musical, and this exceeded it. High School Musical has been my favorite and a major part of my life since kindergarten. As a junior in high school now, I still absolutely love this movie and musical. I saw things in the musical that I didn’t catch when I was younger, one of which is the messages the musical contains. This musical has been reminding us since we were six-years-old that being yourself is always the best option. It also shows us that true friends will always have your back.

Even if you’ve seen the movie High School Musical a million times like me, I highly recommend coming to see Notre Dame’s production of it. It contains favorites from the movie and adds scenes and musical numbers that aren’t in the original. These additions really add to the musical and make it amazing.

Go buy your tickets at You won’t regret seeing this incredible performance of High School Musical.