DVHS Drama returns with a whimsical performance of The High School Musical

Boomika Velineni and Nayja Shah

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  • This year, the drama program at Dougherty Valley High School produced and performed “High School Musical” on stage, after facing a hiatus due to the pandemic.

  • The return was strong, as the cast of “High School Musical” performed fluidly as one unified cast, their movements in perfect synchronization with each other and the beat.

  • The two leads played by Nathan Pahed and Rahi Hazra, were vibrant in their roles, carrying the bulk of the vocals through their characters.

  • : It was remarkable to see the cast’s choreography with the basketballs and other strenuous dance performances, perfectly balanced with their own vocal exercises.

  • The “jocks” of the performance were vital in supporting Troy Bolton (Nathan Pahed) as he led them to victory against Dublin High School towards the climax of the musical.

  • Simultaneously, the “nerds” provided intellectual support for Gabrielle Montez (Rahi Hazra) as she bested the other teams in the academic decathlon. The side-by-side performances were reminiscent of the movie’s own transitions between both competitions.

  • Overall, the drama program has made a strong comeback to performing in-person on the live stage, and their performances and involvement in “High School Musical”, was a delight to watch.

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From March 23-27, the DVHS Drama Club returned after two years with The High School Musical, amazing the audience with an expressive performance. 

The High School Musical is a 2006 American musical film based on the unlikely love story of a high school jock, Troy Bolton, and an academically gifted student, Gabriella Montez. Having met at a karaoke during winter break, the two students find a surprising similarity: they both enjoy singing. As the school year begins, Gabriella moves to a new school where she reunites with Troy and is introduced to other students, including the high school’s top drama student, Sharpay Evans. While Sharpay, Gabriella’s, and Troy’s friends attempt to break the couple apart, the duo become closer when they decide to audition for the upcoming school musical together. 

The DVHS Drama Club last hosted a musical in early 2020, with the musical “Beauty and the Beast.Returning in 2022 with a new musical was a struggle but the challenges brought the production team closer together. 

Drama Club President Gabby Ocampo (Taylor McKessie) explains, “The audition process was rushed, it was very hectic. There was a miscommunication between the teachers and students. But, I think the outcome was the cast got close.”

Despite the hurdles, the drama club managed to return with a fantastic performance. Starting from the beginning: senior Ojal Dhar (Kelsi Nielsen) performed a piano piece and captured the audience with her expressions. They stirred curiosity and interest as she varied her facial expressions with every note. An introductory dance number followed through with all the main characters creatively introduced. The transitions were distinguished and the energetic choreography livened the audience. 

Over the course of the Musical, the production team became a family, highlighting this within their performance. 

“I was able to form a family from the musical. By the end [of the production] we became really good friends. And I felt our stage chemistry really [made it feel] like we’re all in it together,” describes senior Nathan Pahed (Troy Bolton). 

As the musical unfolded, there were many memorable moments and characters. 

Off the bat, the school radio host, Jack Scott (played by V. Wong), brought a comical aspect to the play. Each announcement left the audience laughing and intrigued. The Jack Scott radio proved to be an effective transition; between each major scene, his announcements allowed the backstage crew to smoothly change scenes while providing comedy to keep the audience entertained. 

Beyond Jack Scott, there were multiple memorable characters. Anika Awasthi recreated Sharpay Evans perfectly, flawlessly; performing Sharpay’s charismatic yet antagonistic personality very well. Mariam Yar (Ms. Darbus) stole the spotlight with her exuberant acting as the flamboyant drama teacher as well. 

The performances each held a unique element, flawlessly showcasing the talents of the actors. Of them, one of the most difficult was an introductory dance number to the basketball team. Here the cheerleaders and basketball players had to dance while singing and dribbling balls. It was incredible to see no issues during such a complex performance and hear their perfectly-stable vocals. 

While the musical was performed exceptionally well, the sound system posed a hurdle. At times the mics’ volumes were too low causing an issue in line-delivery or the loud background music would overpower the vocals. The feedback from the mics also caused static breaks during the solos with particularly high notes.  Despite these drawbacks, the Drama Club certainly organized an enjoyable show. 

Interestingly enough, DVHS’s first ever musical was The High School Musical. Returning from quarantine, the DVHS Drama Club produced a captivating rendition of their debut musical, making it a night worth remembering. 

Drama Club logistics officer, Sarisha Sabhlok concludes, “We’ve been off campus for two years. And so, [The High School Musical] was the perfect musical to return with. Because it [delivered the message] that we’re all in this together.”