Talented Cast Brings ‘High School Musical: One Act Edition’ to Life at Mill Mountain Theater | Arts & Theater

When a franchise spawns a spin-off like “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” it officially becomes a cultural juggernaut. The Disney Channel Original Movie “High School Musical” first hit the screen in 2006 and became one of its most successful films of all time, with an equally successful soundtrack and three popular sequels to date. Some have called ‘High School Musical’ a nod to ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but the central plot point actually sounds like ‘Hamlet’ – to play or not to play?

Troy is a star on the East High School basketball team, and the Wildcats have a big game coming up. Gabriella is the new girl at school and just so happens to have the academic chops to help her classmates compete in the school decathlon. Meanwhile, auditions are underway for the drama club’s school musical, and an impromptu tryout later, Troy and Gabriella can’t wait to be called back.

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Yes, high school is complicated. A young and talented troupe from the Mill Mountain Theater makes it fun.

Charles Meidlinger and Elise LeGault, playing the serious Troy and the sweet Gabriella, are as endearing as they are talented. They make us take care of their characters and display voices that blend and harmonize beautifully.

Among the cheerleaders, sportsmen and other students, between Sharpay, president of the drama club. She has a thing for Troy and a plot to make sure Gabriella doesn’t compete for her place in the musical.

Caroline Moledor plays Sharpay with the charming campitude of a mean girl. William Richardson gives his twin brother Ryan a “henchman” vibe and also nails the role of high-strung Coach Bolton, who happens to be Troy’s father.

Jadyn Rhodes makes a charming Taylor, leader of the academic team, who tries to trick Gabriella into choosing her team over the room.

Ben Armstrong plays Troy’s best friend Chad, a well-meaning kid who just wants a win for his hoops team. Emma Harvey brings sweet ardor to the role of Kelsi, who wrote the school musical and wants Gabriella and Troy to get shot. As drama teacher, Ms. Darbus, Leah Bouldin is pragmatic yet warm in keeping her students on track. Sylvia MacNab makes recurring appearances as Jacki, bringing infectious enthusiasm to the school’s daily announcements.

The cast is drawn from MMT’s Conservatory Program and its new Conservatory Company, made up of students from across the Roanoke Valley who are dedicated to dance, acting and musical theater – and it shows. Through more than a dozen selections, all the young performers fill the stage with energy, strong voices and precise movements.

The public on the morning of July 28 applauded the latest figures.

“High School Musical: One Act Edition” reminds us that no matter who we are, we’re all trying to make our way through this crazy world. And sometimes things actually work.