"It's very stressful. You want it to be close to the movie, but you want to make it your own," said Rebecca Brune, who is directing the Augusta Players Youth Theatre production of Disney's High School Musical Onstage, which will be presented at 7 p.m. June 6 and 7 and at 3 p.m. June 8 at the Augusta Preparatory Day School's Hull Fine Arts Center.
Though many of the songs and the characters from the film Disney's High School Musical will be familiar to Disney fans, there are some differences.
"They've added songs and added the chorus to others," Mrs. Brune said.
Atlanta choreographer Aman-da Taggert had not seen the film until just before auditions for the play and has added her own spin to the dance moves.
"The music is so upbeat. There's hip-hop and jazz kinds of stuff," she said.
About 35 high school students from a cross-section of schools in Richmond and Columbia counties are filling the roles. Students attend John S. Davidson Fine Arts School, Greenbrier High School, Augusta Prep and Augusta Christian; others are home-schooled.
For Greenbrier High School senior Josiah Carr, the role of Troy Bolton represents a first.
"This is my first time acting. I come from a very artistic family. I've always been involved with music and dance," said Josiah, whose father, Johnny Carr, was the music teacher at Brookwood Elementary School for many years.
His love interest, Gabriella, played by Katie Blanchard, another Greenbrier High School senior, is also a relative newcomer to the stage.
"This is my second musical," she said.
Katie said she is at ease because she can relate to her character.
"It's not really a stretch because we have similar personalities," said Katie, who considers herself shy and quiet.
The characters will give a sneak preview at 7 p.m. Sunday at Stevie B's restaurant on Bobby Jones Expressway. The main characters will sign autographs.
Tickets for the production are $12 for adults and $8 for children 10 and younger.
For more information, call (706) 826-4707 or visit www.augustaplayers.org.
Reach Charmain Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.