High school musical meets “High School Musical”


The nationally touring production of Disney’s High School Musical is coming to the State Theatre in Minneapolis from April 1-6. In anticipation of the show’s arrival, we asked cast members from an actual high school musical if they had any questions for a member of the High School Musical cast.

Here are the questions—from cast members in Good News! at St. Agnes High School—and the answers from Arielle Jacobs, who plays the lead role of Gabriella Montez in the touring production of High School Musical.

How did you get this role? (Andrew Kueppers, sophomore)
I auditioned for the role of Gabriella in New York City with hundreds of other girls. My agent submitted me for an appointment, and actually gave me the material for Sharpay because she’d never seen the movie and thought I’d be seen for that role! I asked her for the Gabriella materials too, just in case. After two days of callbacks, I was cast in the part.

High School Musical is playing at the State Theatre from April 1-6. For tickets ($23-$67), see hennepintheatredistrict.org. Good News! is playing at St. Agnes High School from April 25-May 4. For tickets ($5-$8), call (651) 228-1636.

Our musical [Good News!] was also a movie. To what extent did the portrayal of your character [by Vanessa Anne Hudgens] in the movie version influence your portrayal? (Charlie Lehnen, senior)
I tried my hardest to create my own character, using the script and my own personal experiences. In the beginning it was difficult to make the character of Gabriella fresh and real for me, because I’d already seen the movie. But I tried to forget that I’d seen the movie and work on the script like any other script, so that the dialogue would feel real for me as an actress. Copying the movie version of Gabriella would have been a trap for me as an actress, by limiting my own choices and thus restricting the amount of myself that goes into the character onstage each night.

Have you ever been asked to do something for a show that was uncomfortable, awkward, or just plain outrageous? (Catherine Noble, junior)
Hmm! That’s a great question! Well, there’s a new musical called Mask that’s going to Broadway this fall 2008. I was a part of the Broadway workshop and I portrayed the role of Angel, a teenage Latina prostitute! It was immensely fun, and we didn’t actually have any sex scenes—but I had to be a cigarette-smoking, scantily clad hooker. That’s was scary, but I didn’t really have to smoke, just pretend. And I got to wear stilettos, fish-net tights and a hot leather vest! Since we were only in a little rehearsal studio it was okay, but walking through the hallways of the building I got some pretty strange looks.

How much sleep do you get each night? (Michaella Johnson, junior)
Sleep is very important to me. I always feel best after 9 hours of sleep. If I get less than 6 hours, I feel sick or nauseous the next day!

On show days, what is your schedule like? (Sarah Adam, senior)
I usually wake up around 10 a.m. and do the normal things…eat breakfast, check e-mail. Sometimes my friends and I go on outings, like visiting a museum or going horseback riding. I get to the theater an hour before the show to warm up my voice, pin-curl my hair for my wig and do my makeup. Then after the show, sometimes we go out or meet in the hotel lobby to be social, but I usually go back to my room and rest.

When you are on the road in an unfamiliar city, where do you go and what do you do when you need to get away and take some time for yourself? (Catherine Noble, junior)
When traveling throughout the country, we’ve got a lot of heavy suitcases so my back and shoulders take the toll. When I need to get away and rejuvenate, I find a massage/healing center. I like to get a massage session from a healer who can also balance my energy. I also like to get a spa pedicure every few weeks, as a simple treat that makes me feel pretty and taken care of. When it’s warm outside, I like to sit in local parks and write. This is when I get the most inspired, and when I can journal, and write lyrics, poems, and children’s stories.

What is your dream role? (Lizz Windnagel, junior)
I’d love to play Maria in West Side Story, Kim in Miss Saigon, and Christine in Phantom of the Opera.

Any advice for me if I decide to pursue acting as a career? (John Humphrey, senior)
If you want to be an actor, I’d recommend going to school/college to study acting technique, scene study, and script analysis. Improvisation classes are also helpful and liberating for the mind of the actor who’s afraid to take risks. If you want to pursue musical theatre, it’s also important to take voice lessons and dance classes, since you truly need to be a triple threat in this business. Read plays, watch musicals and continue to be inspired! And don’t be afraid to share your gift with the world!

Jay Gabler is the Daily Planet’s arts editor.