FHS HS Musical

The Falmouth High School Drama Club prepares for its upcoming presentation of “High School Musical.” From the left: Bobbie Lester, Sonjia Armitage, Lauryn McGann, Brooks Bellinger, Gwen Calderbank, Brynne Mayeski and Noah Reilly.

Falmouth High School will present “High School Musical” as this year’s all-school musical. The play has been prerecorded and will be available to view on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 11 to 13. Scheduled stream times are 7 PM on June 11, 1 and 7 PM on June 12, and 1 PM on June 13.

“It’s quite different, it’s not a staged production, we filmed it like a movie,” director Alyssa Guida said. “We went around the high school using different rooms and did the filming.” Educator and Falmouth High School webmaster Ryan Webber served as the show’s director of photography. “He and several students did the filming and the sound editing, and he will be editing everything together so it looks like a film,” said Ms. Guida, who added that the student production staff has come a long way in learning how to create streaming content, which she hopes will continue into the future. “The kids learned a lot about the production aspect of filming and how it’s different than doing a stage production. I love the streaming aspect because it means that anyone who doesn’t live in the area can still watch. I hope that it sticks around post pandemic.”

Released on the Disney Channel in 2006, “High School Musical” became the most commercially successful Disney Channel original movie ever produced, inspiring two sequels, a holiday special, and also spinning off into a TV series. The upbeat story about high schoolers Troy and Gabriella focuses on the importance of following your passions and not letting yourself be typecast as just the brainy kid or just the athletic kid.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Ms. Guida said. “We picked it because it had the potential for a big cast if we wanted to have that. We also really loved that we could film it around the building instead of having to worry about building set pieces for a stage production in a short period of time.”

Ms. Guida praised the student performers and crew for their dedication in pulling the show together in a short timeframe: “The kids have basically lived here for the month of May. We had practices and then filming days every weekend in May.”

With performers not able to sing together indoors, the group got creative and used the online program Upbeat to record themselves at home. “Upbeat is a program where we can add in all of our backing tracks, all the music that goes along with a song, and then the kids record their parts at home and all the pieces can be edited together,” Ms. Guida said.

When the cast was together for filming, they were lip-syncing the words to the songs. “They are all still wearing masks,” Ms. Guida said, “so you can’t tell that they are not singing. When you see the full film, it really does look like they are singing live with each other. The energy is still the same. Every challenge that came with doing a musical, they took it and they ran with it.”

Ms. Guida said she was glad the students were able to spend quality time together, “something that’s obviously been difficult in the last year.”

Ms. Guida described “High School Musical” as an upbeat family musical. “The ending song, ‘We’re All In This Together,’ is fitting for everything that’s happened in the past year. The show is a real ensemble piece, everybody is in a ton of numbers, so it really did create that environment that we are all in this together,” she said.

To help with the production the Falmouth High School Theatre Company was awarded a grant from the Falmouth Education Foundation, which allowed music director Chris Ricci to be paid. “We were lucky enough to get a grant earlier in the year when we were doing ‘Clue,’ for new stage lights, and the Falmouth Education Foundation was generous and gave us a second one,” Ms. Guida said.

A long-term substitute chorus teacher at the high school, Ms. Guida said it was invaluable to have Mr. Ricci there to “teach the kids their music before they all went home and recorded it on their own.”

Appearing in “High School Musical” will be Brooks Bellinger, Gwen Calderbank, Jess Green, Max Giardi, Cooper Mountjoy, Merritt Wilcox, Mathias Jacobs, Siobhan Morris, Morgan Brown, Lauryn McGann, Sonjia Armitage, Noah Reilly, Siobhan Morris, Nicole Norris, Leyden Steedman, Jenny Vu, Reneelia Corniffe, Amelia Donnelly, Brooklyn Leighton, Emory O’Connell, Isabella Sayers, Bronwyn Morris and Matthew Roslansky.

Behind the scenes as crew are Jasper Estes, Nic Jones, Herrick Kehoe, Bobbie Lester, Brynne Mayeski, Zach Morris, Lexi Morton, Natalie Packard and Isaac Williamson.

Registration for the livestream is available at www.falmouth.k12.ma.us/hsm.

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