Teens enjoy 'High School'

Michael Ryan/Special
Kris Byrd (From left), Amber Cobern, Josiah Carr, Katie Blanchard, Mary Hadsell and Matt Gordon rehearse for The Augusta Players Youth Theatre production of Disney's High School Musical.

Teens last summer were gearing up for the premiere of Disney's High School Musical 2 . This summer, the original Disney's High School Musical movie comes to life in a production by The Augusta Players Youth Theatre, Friday through Sunday at Augusta Preparatory Day School.

Full disclosure: I'm playing Jack Scott, the narrator.

Now don't go thinking that this production includes Zac Efron or those other teen heartthrobs, but it does boast six local teens playing the leads in the cast.

Josiah Carr plays Troy Bolton; Katie Blanchard plays Gabriella Montez; Mary Hadsell plays Sharpay Evans; Matt Gordon plays Ryan Evans; Kris Byrd plays Corbin Bleu; and Amber Cobern plays Taylor McKessie.

"I'm pumped to be playing such a recognizable role, I'm hoping I can live up to it," said Josiah, a recent Greenbrier High School graduate.

Katie, another recent Greenbrier graduate who will be donning a wig for the show, says the long rehearsals and dance practices were worth it.

"It's been a lot of work -- almost a job," she said. "At the same time, it's given me a professional experience that I've learned a lot from."

Mary, a rising junior at Davidson Fine Arts, said she enjoys her role as Sharpay, the calculating drama queen.

"Let's be honest, it's fun to play the mean girl. She's so dramatic, so clichà sometimes, but always a lot of fun."

Matt, another Greenbrier graduate, compares the Disney play to Disney World.

"It seems like every song ends in a full chorus belting melodies and harmonies to tumultuous dancing," he said.

Michael Ryan is a rising junior at Greenbrier High School

ONSTAGE

WHAT: Disney's High School Musical

WHO: Augusta Players Youth Theatre

WHERE: Hull Fine Arts Center at Augusta Preparatory Day School, 285 Flowing Wells Road, Martinez

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday

COST: $12 for adults and $8 for students; see www.augustaplayers.com

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