Manhasset High School To Do High School Musical This Spring – Preview

Nitya Wanchoo

The Manhasset High School Theater Department is set to put on a production of High School Musical for their annual spring musical. 

Robb Fessler, director, has decided that this spring’s musical production will be that of the beloved movie series High School Musical. Originally a popular Disney movie filmed in a variety of locations, this show is being “embraced” as a theater production. It’s going to be filmed in the auditorium and Fessler intends on streaming it. This is especially exciting because it allows the casts to see themselves on the opening night! 

Tickets will be sold via a QR code linked to the ticket sale window found on posters around the school. The show is currently planning to be streamed on Friday, June 4th at 7:30, Saturday, June 5th at 2:00 and 7:30, and Sunday, June 6th at 2:00. In place of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens playing Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez, will be juniors Kieran Fink and Morgan Gryigel as the leads. 

Fessler sings the praise of the cast: “I was thinking about how supportive they are of each other, what good friends they already are, and how uncompetitive they are with each other.” He mentioned that he even shed a tear when thinking about just how kind and talented this year’s cast is. He’s looking forward to such a close knit cast and crew and is excited to have a good time! 

High School Musical, a family favorite, wasn’t actually Robb’s first pick for the spring musical. He disclosed, “I actually didn’t choose High School Musical – it chose me.” Mamma Mia was his first choice for this spring’s production but it was only offered live and not for streaming. In an executive decision to preserve the welfare of the students, Mr. Fessler decided it wasn’t worth running the risk of getting anyone sick so he chose High School Musical. “High School Musical ticked all the boxes” he exclaims. “It’s got a great pop score, it provides a lot of roles for women -which is always a major factor in choosing a show for me-  and, of course, we can stream it.” 

Amidst the pandemic, several measures have been taken in the filming process. Victoria DiCarlo, choreographer for the high school’s theater program and director of the middle school theater department, speaks to many of the obstacles of this unusual year: “This spring is a bit difficult because we have two musicals going on at the same time, where usually they are on opposite ends of the year.” This means there are various complications, such as scheduling and resource conflicts. Nonetheless, Victoria reassures that “Everyone also is of course masked the entire time and sanitizing in abundance!” 

As expected, there is now a technical aspect to such a production which comes with it’s own respective difficulties. The cast is only permitted to sing for 45 minutes at a time, while spaced 12 feet apart. To combat this, DiCarlo informs that everyone’s voice will be pre-recorded so that when filming the show, the cast can work in proximity to one another. “We’ll be recording the performers one at a time in the safety of a sound room and mixing the entire show together” said Fessler. This is done to reduce airborne droplets while simultaneously providing the audience with higher quality sound clarity. The HVAC system which Fessler commented said is very loud, “gets picked up on any recordings done live in that space.” All the unwanted noise is eliminated by recording individual students at a time. 

Nevertheless, in the midst of a pandemic, the show must go on! Despite all the hurdles that make this such a difficult task, Manhasset High School’s Theater Department has come together to successfully tackle each and every one. Manhasset will most certainly be putting on the much loved High School Musical this spring and it’s sure to be remarkable!