SLOC finds new audience with ‘High School Musical’
SCOTIA It's a rare musical that requires a pre-show dance party to let members of the audience release their pent-up excitement.
But that's what was needed before Saturday's performance by the Schenectady Light Opera Company of "High School Musical on Stage" in Freedom Park, where children got up from the grass and joined the cast in front of the stage for a few minutes of surprisingly organized dancing.
It was the third night of this tradition, which also preceded performances Wednesday and Thursday.
"We come out in the beginning to dance with them, and they're all so high energy and really into it," said 15-year-old cast member Cameron Duwe. "It's really great."
Before the show, Duwe was pointing out each cast member playing to a group of children. They all wanted to know who was portraying the characters they had come to know from Disney’s three "High School Musical" movies.
"They all watched the movies and they're really excited about it," he said.
These fans were unique, though, Duwe said.
"I'm pretty sure every kid out here has seen the movie," he explained.
His own connection to "High School Musical" extended beyond just the stage show, as he said he was also a fan of the movies.
But children and tweens weren’t the only ones excited for the show, as fans of the first movie, which came out in 2006, haven’t let their interest wane over time.
Erin Reilly, 26, was still a teenager when the first movie came out, and she said still remembers all the songs. After Wednesday's show, she said, "We sang the songs the entire way home."
Those enticing songs prompt reactions from the fans during the show, Duwe said.
"It's a really good sing-along show," he said. "People can get really into it."
Reilly added that the story also resonates with young fans, as it features high school students from every familiar niche.
"It's something that kids can relate to," she said.
And because it's a Disney property, originally broadcast on its cable network, its themes are family-friendly, which is why parents of younger children have welcomed the franchise with open arms.
The fact that the "High School Musical" franchise is so well-known is something the Schenectady Light Opera Company is hoping to capitalize on, according to Kimberly Reilly, the group's secretary.
"I think that this show is helping us reach a lot of people that weren't familiar with [the Schenectady Light Opera Company]," she said. "Hopefully that will bring them into the seats at our theater."
Based on the packed house for Saturday's show, it appears they could get their wish.
"I've been very happy with the number of people that came out," Reilly said.
To learn more about the Schenectady Light Opera Company, which will be performing "Guys and Dolls" in October, visit www.sloctheater.org.