From Warriors to Wildcats: NC Standing Ovation performs “High School Musical On Stage” 


Amber Roldan

NC Standing Ovation brought the plot of the famous Disney movie, “High School Musical” to life this weekend in their beloved Performing Arts Center. Their performance of the well-known storyline thrilled audience members with flashy dance numbers and unique costumes. “Hearing the audience’s reactions, applauding and cheering really did boost my confidence because I felt like I was giving them a great performance and it helped to push me to give it my all during each show. Even if I may have been tired, I wanted to give the audience a show worth watching,” senior Erica Igwedibie said.

Amber Roldan, Editor in Chief

With only three months to prepare, NC’s Standing Ovation theater department tirelessly worked to transform their beloved stage into the home of the Wildcats from the iconic 2006 film: High School Musical (HSM). With a tight-knit cast and crew of 54, countless rehearsals and hours of dedication went into ensuring the show’s success. After rehearsing after school three days a week for 11 weeks, NC’s cast and crew enthusiastically performed their rendition of “High School Musical On Stage” on March 24, 25 and 26. 

NC Standing Ovation’s production served as a memorable musical for NC’s theater department. Similar to numerous other athletic and fine arts extracurriculars, the COVID-19 pandemic brought NC’s musical theater endeavors to a crashing halt in March of 2020. Rehearsing to perform “Newsies” only months later, NC’s 2020 Spring musical never debuted due to the harsh repercussions surrounding the pandemic. Over two years later, the melodies of musical theater returned to NC’s stage with auditions for High School Musical during the last week of the Fall semester. 

Since “High School Musical On Stage” constituted NC’s first musical since the pandemic, the show welcomed a plethora of new faces. Notably, both of the show’s leads never performed in a musical on NC’s stage until opening night. Magnet freshman Olivia Doucette earned the role of Gabriella Montez after her impressive audition. In the history of NC Standing Ovation, few freshmen have earned the lead role in the annual Spring musical. Doucette’s role alone serves as a testament to her immense talent. High School Musical wouldn’t be the same without Montez’s partner in crime and eventual love interest: Troy Bolton. Senior Cheyne Jackson scored the role and impressively played the typical jock. Jackson spent all four years at NC in chorus, however, he never found himself performing on stage before this year’s Spring musical.

“I was excited to be the lead in my first musical.  On the first day of practice, I was really nervous because I didn’t want to let anyone down. As time progressed, I found my balance and got accustomed to balancing dances, songs, and memorizing lines. This group felt more like a family than when I played sports in 9th and 10th grade. I felt like an extra person in that environment. This group of people were family to me,” Jackson said.

Premiering in 2006, The High School Musical series served as a childhood favorite for many NC students. The movie’s undeniable popularity garnered a respectably sized audience at each show. In an effort to mitigate COVID-19 exposure, each show had limited seating with 450 available seats at each show. Unlike previous musicals put on by NC’s theater department, NC students who grew up watching the series made up a large portion of the audience at each show. Their familiarity with the plot boosted the cast’s morale as they listened to applause and laughter from backstage.

“It felt exhilarating to play Sharpay because she’s such a unique and entertaining character from my childhood and someone that has always been my favorite character in High School Musical. Actually playing her on stage was such a great experience that I never thought I would have, but I’m very grateful. Playing this role definitely challenged me acting and singing-wise and pushed me past the limits I set for myself in theater,” senior Erica Igwedibie said.

With multiple popular songs featured throughout the musical, the catchy lyrics called for numerous dance numbers throughout the musical. Student dance captains choreographed the upbeat dances and taught them to cast members. This unique aspect of the show stands as another testament to the impressive amount of work students poured into their performance of HSM.

The end of each show concluded with a standing ovation as audience members cheered for their favorite Wildcat performers. Much of the 2022 Spring Musical’s success belongs to Head Director Candice Corcoran and Musical Director Holly Botella. Both women diligently worked with students and offered unlimited theatrical and choral support and advice.