“What Team? Wildcats!” On Stage in May

Elizabeth Alton

Lights! Camara! Action! 

The WESS players are back at it again, with a production of High School Musical coming to a renovated black box near you this May. From 2015 up until now, the musical theater program has seen a lot of development. When the very first class entered WESS, we saw a production of “Annie” in seventh grade, “Guys and Dolls” in eighth, and “Legally Blond” last year. This year, led by Michele and Christina, the singing/acting/dancing triple threats of WESS are going to take the stage. To get a sneak peek at this year’s play, and the developments that have come along with it, I sat down with four members of the cast to get their take on their community within the group and the production as a whole.

WESS players are truly a community, and as someone who spent two years with them, I can certainly attest to that. Michele, Christina, and the club are powering ahead with students helping in all elements of the production, including set design and assistant directing, to have the show ready for the public by May.

Eighth-grader Isabell Kroll, who will be taking the stage as Gabriella Montez, said of the experience, “I’ve had the opportunity to convey a story. It’s hard. But it’s super rewarding. We get to spend time with people we may not have met [otherwise]. There is no judgment because even if you get an ensemble role, you’re still important to the story. 

Just walking into the dance studio, this is apparent. Each cast member has a role in each dance and works together to make an excellent final product.

I also sat down with eighth-grader Gavin Willis, a new addition to the program as of this year, who will be laying Ryan Evans. “I always used to do acting, but I never did any school plays or plays necessarily,” he said.  “We’re really working hard to make an impact.”

Casey Fury, a ninth-grader who has been a part of the program since its creation four years ago, spoke to her development. “I was more reserved than I am now. When I did “Annie,” I was more nervous. It’s a good experience. I think now we have more participation and more interest because in 6th grade we had no stage and there wasn’t a lot of costumes. Christina wasn’t even there at that point [to choreograph and coach dance].

 It is clear how much the community has grown with the addition of three more grades, as well as the fact that the “High School Musical” performance is set to take place in the new and improved black box. Casey added that she would want the student body to know that “It’s pretty fun, and we have a lot of people that are super talented and deserve to be recognized. Anyone who comes is going to have a good time.

Where are the students so far in the processes? Eighth-grader Isabella Tinney, who is starring as Sharpay Evans, told me, “We have blocked all the songs, but we are working on the dance element. The cast is responsible for doing the background, like banners and stuff. You don’t [even] have to be in the musical to be involved in WESS players.

So there you have it! Make sure you keep your calendar open in May to see WESS’s rendition of High School musical. Get your head in the game.