‘River Theatre’ tackling big show

Dave Ogilvie

Monday (July 5) marked the beginning two weeks of fun and hard work for this year’s “River Theatre” summer program.
The talented group of 18 girls and four boys quickly set to work learning the script, music, and choreography.
This year’s production of “High School Musical” is a departure from the usual for Renée Martin-Brown and her students.
For the past eight years, the group has concentrated on presenting theme-related musicals designed specifically for classroom teachers.
This year’s performance will be a full-fledged musical production featuring as many sets, props, and costumes as the two-week period will allow.
“I’m really excited about this year’s production,” enthused Martin-Brown.
Assisting Martin-Brown is choreographer Trevor Barker. Originally from Devlin, Barker has been living in Brandon, Man., where he has appeared in several musicals over the past two years.
This past April, he played the role of “Ryan” in a production of “High School Musical.”
The leading roles in the production were awarded to Maxwell Williams (“Troy”), Taylor Shouldice (“Gabriella”), Isaac Firth (“Ryan”), Megan Martin (“Sharpay”), and Maggie Gauthier (“Taylor”).
Best described as a modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, “High School Musical” is a story about two high school juniors from rival social groups: Troy Bolton, captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez, a beautiful but shy transfer student who excels in math and science.
They both decide to try out for lead parts in their high school musical, and in the process, split the school population in two.
Despite other students’ attempts to derail their dreams, Troy and Gabriella resist peer pressure and rivalry, inspiring others along the way to do the same.
Martin-Brown, the director of “River Theatre,” has a degree in music, has been the musical director of the Emo Centennial Choir for many years, is a professional piano and vocal instructor, and also sings professionally.
Under her direction, the students, over the last several years, have created some truly remarkable productions.
This year’s summer program promises to be even better.
River Theatre’s performance of “High School Musical” will take place Friday, July 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Donald Young School gymnasium.
Tickets cost $5 each, and will be available at the door only.
In the past, the performances of this summer school of music have been attended by just relatives and close friends of the performers.
But this year’s talented group of young musicians, dancers, and actors deserve the respect and support of the entire community.