High School Musical is what you’ve been looking for


Tessa Bushfield

High School musical cast members getting ready to rehearse the finale

Get ready, Gloucester. the Gloucester High Theatre Program is bringing the East High spirit to Gloucester High in this year’s spring musical movie. 

For the first time, GHS drama will produce a full scale musical movie, streaming from May 20th to May 22nd, and utilizing the high school as the set. Because a live show couldn’t be performed, scenes were filmed individually all over the school and compiled and edited into a movie.

“High School Musical Jr.” is the stage adaptation of the widely popular Disney Channel Original movie “High School Musical” which tells the story of an unlikely romance between East High School’s star basketball player, Troy Bolton (played by Nate Oaks), and genius new girl, Gabriella Montez (played by Tessa Bushfield), after meeting during a karaoke contest, and deciding to audition for the school musical. 

“Treely Dowd,” co-videographer and editor with the help of GHS parent Martin Del Vecchio, “is carrying the production,” says boom operator Clara Del Vecchio. “Treely was there for every rehearsal trying to figure out where the camera would go, where the mic would go, and how the dances would be filmed. He was there until 8 at least every night recording. The director, Jessica Kirk planned the show, and Treely had to figure out how to make it happen.”

Of course, there were a lot of changes that came with this new way of production. Ais Cook, who plays Teacher Tenny in the play prefers filming to live theater for several reasons.

“We didn’t have to sing when we danced. I also like that I could focus on one thing at a time. You didn’t have to know everything at once,” said Cook. “You just had to study the scene you were working on.” 

Emily Gossom, who plays Cathy agrees. “It was a lot easier. There were a lot of difficulties that came with it, but it was also nice in the sense that there was less pressure that came from performing live. If you messed up we could just re-film it.”

“When you perform a show live, you don’t have to worry about camera angles or if people who aren’t supposed to be in the shot are in the shot,” said Gossom.  “Audio issues, the camera not being in focus, and placement issues came up a lot.” 

“There is a lot going on behind the scenes that people don’t know about,” said Gossom. “Between editing and filming, Treely Dowd and Martin Del Vecchio have put in so much of their time and effort into this show.”

Music was prepared in person with music director Mr. Fleury and assistant music director Mr. Mandeville, then students were sent home to record their ensemble vocals on “Band Lab,” a recording software. 

Soloists would then go back to GHS and record their solos there. Scenes were all blocked and rehearsed in person, typically after dance rehearsals. Dance rehearsals which were lead by student choreographer, Kaylee Allen, also took place in person. 

“I’m liking the in person dance rehearsals. I think it is very effective for the cast to see the moves and ask questions if needed, without having to worry about wifi going out or a lagging computer,” said Allen, “I also think it will have a strong effect on the show to tell the story through dance.” 

Many memories were made during the filming process. Sophomore Seamus Buckley, who plays school announcer and Wildcats superfan Jack Scott, thought back to one of his favorite moments throughout the process.

“I really enjoyed spending time with my castmates in between scenes and playing random games with them, many of which we made up on the spot, like ‘hand tennis.’”

The show runs for roughly an hour, and virtual tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/dunkadelic. The show is streaming at four different times, and your preferred viewing time options can be found through the link.