‘River Theatre’ show a success

Dave Ogilvie

This past Friday marked the culmination of two weeks of hard work and hours of dedicated practice for the 22 musical students of this year’s “River Theatre” program.
More than 150 friends, family, and music lovers from across the district filled the gym at Donald Young School in Emo to show their support for this talented group and to enjoy the summer school’s presentation of “High School Musical.”
Although the evening was warm, those on hand seemed eager to witness what the students could produce in two short weeks—and they definitely were not disappointed.
Led by leads Maxwell Williams (“Troy Bolton”) and Taylor Shouldice (“Gabriella Montez”), each and every cast member did a remarkable job handling all the dialogue, songs, and dances.
Strong vocals from Shouldice and the other major characters, including Isaac Firth (“Ryan”), Megan Martin (“Sharpay”), and Maggie Gauthier (“Taylor”), not only carried the storyline along but also impressed the audience with their maturity and stage presence.
“They were amazing,” enthused director Renée Martin-Brown.
“It was a lot of work in such a short period of time but I knew this talented group could pull it off,” she added.
“Although it was like cramming two months of work into only two weeks, it was definitely worth it,” echoed Shouldice.
The audience obviously agreed as they applauded and cheered throughout the entire performance.
The theme of “High School Musical” was not lost on the enthusiastic crowd.
Troy, captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella, a beautiful but shy transfer student who excels in math and science, both decide to try out for lead parts in their high school musical, and in the process antagonize their friends and split the school population in two.
Their friends try to force them to give up on their plans, but Troy and Gabriella resist the peer pressure and stay true to their dreams—inspiring others along the way to do the same.
Martin-Brown thanked all those who helped make this year’s “River Theatre” production such a success, including Trevor Barker, who choreographed the entire performance.
“I loved working with the kids this summer,” Barker said.
“The version of the story that they performed was not much different from the ‘senior’ version, and they did such a fantastic job learning all the dance moves,” he added.
This year’s full-fledged musical production was a bit of an experiment for Martin-Brown’s “River Theatre” school, but an experiment that obviously was a huge success.
“High School Musical” left those in attendance wanting more and wondering what this marvelous group has in store for next summer.