Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Encore Stage and Studio Act III High School Musical

By • Jul 26th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Encore Stage and Studio Act III’s production of High School Musical [MP3 5:16 1.5MB].

Laura: Saturday afternoon we saw Encore Stage and Studio’s Act III‘s production of High School Musical in Arlington, Virginia.

Mike: High School Musical is a musical, based off the Disney TV production High School Musical. It’s the story of two high school students from rival cliques. Troy Bolton, captain of the basketball team and Gabriella Montez, a shy transfer student who excels in math and science. Together they try out for the lead parts in their high school musical and as a result divide the school. Despite other student’s attempts to thwart their dreams, Troy and Gabriella resist peer pressure and rivalry inspiring others along the way not to stick with he status quo.

Laura: This was a good show. Lots of dancing and singing. Very high energy, lots of enthusiasm. The audience really got into it and I think that helped with the actors and actresses and their adrenalin ramping up to meet that enthusiasm. They did a good job.

Mike: This was a fun show. This seems to be a big hit among younger audiences in high school and even younger than high school. It was kind of intriguing to see what the show was all about. I had never seen it before on the tv movie or the dvd. I’ve heard a lot about it. It’s been a phenomenon. I’m really glad I got to see it finally. The performance was very exuberant. Everybody gave it a lot. There was a fair amount of people having to think about their lines or remembering their dance steps. They all stuck to it. I hope a lot of these performers stay involved with live theater.

Laura: The role of Gabriella the high school transfer student who was just trying to fit in with the lovely cliques of high school life was played by Ellen Chapin. She had a very nice voice. She is one to watch over the years. She had kind of a sweet innocence about her. She didn’t want to stand out. She just kind of wanted to blend in before she decided on which cliques she wanted to join. Then it became apparent that math and science would be her opening. Even though she really didn’t want to get involved with that. She wanted to get involved in other things like drama. That just really sent a ripple through the high school.

Mike: Troy, the basketball player, was played by Jimmy Mavrikes. He did a good job as the basketball captain. He was unsure if he wanted to become a drama person or a singer. He had to deal with the team making fun of him as well as his father’s expectations. I liked how he was not quite sure of himself, but he got more confident as the show went on. I think that’s how the character would have acted in that situation he was in.

Laura: And Sharpay, the drama diva, was played by Meghan MacFarland. She was fun to watch. She was so outgoing. Very flamboyant. She just oozed drama and being the president of the drama club and controlling everything that was going on. She ruled that part of the social climate at the school. She was a lot of fun to watch and I really enjoyed her performance.

Mike: Ryan, Sharpay’s twin brother and co-star with her in 17 productions, was played by Matthew Heap. He did a really good job. He had a quirky role so he got to do a lot of different things. Everybody knew someone like that in high school, who had their own sense of fashion and their own little sense of themselves. Ryan was that character in that show. I liked how he stayed real. He stayed concerned about other people in the show. He was a nice contrast with Sharpay. Even though he still loved Sharpay his sister and he supported her, he knew at times she was doing the wrong thing.

Laura: The rest of the ensemble did a very nice job. There were some that you could tell they were thinking. “Ok, my next line is coming up. I wonder what it is.” Overall they worked together well. The ensemble did a pretty good job, pretty good dancing and even some gymnastics thrown in.

Mike: The show’s Music Director and Choreographer was Matthew Heap. He had the double duty of being on stage and also directing and getting everybody else set up for what they were doing. I really liked it. It worked really well. The exuberance of the cheerleaders when they were dancing and the basketball players. It all seemed pretty real the way it all worked out.

Laura: High School Musical is playing for one more weekend. Friday at 8 pm. A Saturday matinee at 2 pm and 8 pm and then a Sunday matinee at 2 pm at the Thomas Jefferson Theatre in Arlington Virginia. This is a fun, very family friendly show. I think kids and audiences will very much enjoy it.

Mike: The show was two and a half hours long with one intermission. There were a lot of children in the audience. This show is appropriate for children. They will enjoy the bright colors and dancing and other things going on on stage.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Ensemble: Celeste Amalfitano
  • Chad: Timothy Bartlett
  • Skater/ Basketballer: Darius Butler
  • Gabriella: Ellen Chapin
  • Ensemble: Caitlin Claudy
  • Cheerleader/Dance Captain: Sarah Conrad
  • Jack Scott: Thomas Daniels
  • Cheerleader: Brynn Deakins
  • Cyndra/Cheerleader: Louisa de Butts
  • Taylor: Sarah Edwards
  • Ensemble: Lina Ewell
  • Ryan: Matthew Heap
  • Cheerleader: Emily Hemmingson
  • Kelsi: Shannon Hoff
  • Alan: Mike Holland
  • Science Decathlon Moderator: Meg Hoover
  • Ripper: Jimmy Keady
  • Zeke: Jackson Langevoort
  • James: Kevin Leahy
  • Sharpay: Meghan MacFarland
  • Kratnoff: Nikki Malloy
  • Troy: Jimmy Mavrikes
  • Ms. Darbus: Aimee Meher-Homji
  • Ms. Tenney: Janet Newlove
  • Skater/Cheerleader: Natalie Plumb
  • Susan: Bianca Powell
  • Mongo: Katie Rosenberg
  • Ensemble: Nina Scholl
  • Coach Bolton: James Senavitis
  • Kathy/Cheerleader: Morgan Sendek
  • Assistant to Ms. Dubus: Eileen Sugameli
  • Brainiac: Molly Waidman
  • Martha: Marina Ybarra
  • Cheerleader: Kate Zurowski


  • Executive Producer: Celeste Groves
  • Producer: Meg Hoover
  • Director: Susan Alison Keady
  • Director: Marji Jepperson
  • Music Director and Choreographer: Matthew Heap
  • Technical Director and Set Builder: Stefanie Lynch
  • Stage Manager: Mike Weissberg
  • Costumes & Makeup: Debra Leonard
  • Lighting Designer: Katy McHugh
  • Photography: Larry McClemons
  • Set Builder: Jimmy Keady
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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