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"High School Musical" opens tonight at Crosswinds

Crosswinds East Metro Arts and Science School’s performance of “High School Musical” will open tonight at the school. (Submitted photo)

Earlier this fall when Crosswinds East Metro Arts and Science School first began thinking about possible shows for its school musical, 10th grader Abby LeBlanc thought she had the perfect option: “High School Musical.”

“I originally suggested the musical because of the meaning behind it,” she said, “the whole idea of social equality.

“With our plays, we always focus on some sort of social injustice and seeing it sort of dissolved and this fit in with that.”

Crosswinds’ production of “High School Musical” will open tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the school.

“The musical itself really pertains a lot to the meaning of Crosswinds,” Crosswinds sophomore Kayleigh Schlenker said.

“High School Musical” tells the story of high school basketball star Troy Bolton and intelligent Gabriella Montez who meet on New Year’s Eve at a ski resort when they sing karaoke together. They quickly discover they share a love of music and form an instant connection. Troy returns to school only to discover that Gabriella is a new student. The two quickly become friends and decide to audition for the school musical to the dismay of the school’s two reigning thespians, which sets off a conflict among them, as well as others at the school.

Learning through theater

:When the students approached Crosswinds theater director Cornelius Rish about performing “High School Musical” he said he had very few reservations.

“They sold me on it,” he said. “At Crosswinds, we do show where people can learn as characters – we don’t create characters, we build character.

“I thought the story was pretty bold in its message of really being true to who you are and not giving in to anyone who tries to shape or mold you into something that you’re not.”

Rish said the students have risen to the challenge of this year’s show.

“They are phenomenal leaders,” he said. “They have that ownership and they hold each other accountable.”

Rish said his favorite part of the school musical is seeing how much the students have grown by the time the show opens.

“I love just seeing the kids shine,” he said. The process always amazes me – just to know where they started from and then see them rock it out.

“We don’t look for perfection in our performers; we look for potential so that we can grow that potential.”

Rish said audiences can expect a lot of fun.

“They can expect some laughs, they can expect great acting, they can expect a lot of spectacle in this show and they can expect to grow and learn,” he said. “It’s a very entertaining show with a good life lesson.”

Crosswinds East Metro Arts and Science Middle School’s production of “High School Musical” will run June 13-14 and June 20-21 at 7:30 p.m. and June 15 and 22 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students seniors except at the June 21 performance, which is a “pay what you can” performance. 

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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