Thursday, July 23, 2009

Manatee Players presents 'High School Musical 2'

Friday night will be a big night for 70 Manatee County youth as they present "High School Musical 2" at the Manatee Players.

They've acted, sung and danced their hearts out during three weeks of rehearsals at the theater's Broadway Boot Camp.

The show takes a nod from the highly popular "High School Musical" series, where the students of East High have a knack for suddenly breaking into song in places such as the cafeteria and the basketball court. There's the cool kids, the jocks, the drama club gang and everyone in between.

Anyone under the age of 18 can probably tell you the starring characters of the show: Troy, Gabriella, Chad, Taylor, Sharpay and Ryan. They sing and lament over falling in love, winning the game, getting the starring role in the drama club and finding their place in the hierarchy of highschool - things any high schooler can relate to.

Which is why this show has done so well in theaters, and may very well be a hit on stage in Bradenton. The first "High School Musical," presented during last year's camp, was a success.

In "High School Musical 2" the East High students are out for summer. Troy, Gabriella, Chad and Taylor had landed jobs at the Lava Springs Country Club. Summer love, dancing and singing ensue.

The Manatee Players show is directed by Kelly Woodland and choreographed by Rick Kerby. It stars Adam King as 'Troy', Rebekah Johns as 'Gabriella, Alex Zickafoose as 'Chad', Dani Maxwell as 'Taylor', Connor McCullen as 'Zeke', Katie Clark as 'Martha', Liz Henschel as 'Kelsi', Tyler Johnson as Jack Scott, Maddie Wilson as 'Ripper', Chris Beckwith as 'Chris', Grace Jean-Pierre as 'Sharpay', Max Staebler as 'Ryan,' Nick Drivas as 'Fulton' and Isabella Orsini-Brophy as 'Ms. Darbus.'

Show times are 7 p.m. July 24-25 and 2 p.m. July 25-26. Tickets are $25 adults; $11 students. The venue is at 102 Old Main Street, downtown Bradenton. For more information call: 748-5875.

-January Holmes

Pictured: Rebekah Johns and Adam King

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