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Meet the actors of 'High School Musical'

By Victoria Advocate
July 20, 2011 at 2:20 a.m.

Stephen Bess as Chad Danforth

IF YOU GOWHAT: Disney's "High School Musical" by Theatre Victoria

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday; July 28-30

WHERE: Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts, 214 N. Main St., Victoria

COST: $24 for adults; $21 for seniors; and $18 for students

FOR MORE INFO: Call 361-570-8587 or visit theatrevictoria.org

Stephen Bess - Chad Danforth

Stephen Bess, 21, graduated from Victoria Memorial High School in 2008, where he danced for the pride of the Southwest, the nationally ranked Memorial High School Dance and Drill Team. He then attended Stephen F. Austin State University for two years, where he also danced for the six-time national award-winning SFA Pom Squad. Bess now attends Victoria College, where he will start nursing school this fall.

On playing Chad:

"I danced in high school and college, so it's different playing an athlete."

Tad Cooley - Troy Bolton

Tad Cooley, 17, will be a senior at Industrial High School in the fall. He enjoys sports and spending time with family. Acting has become a big part of his life and dreams of one day becoming a successful actor. He will be in two independent films this summer and has participated in the Theatre Victoria's Triple Threat camp and "High School Musical."

On playing Troy:

"It's cool because I have my own experiences as that person."

Heather Grosenbocker - Taylor McKessie

Heather Grosenbocker, 16, is a student at Victoria East High School and is a member of the school's Drama Club, Speech and Debate Team, Golden Saber Dance Team and National Honor Society. She has appeared in Theatre Victoria's "Peter Pan," as an Indian and "Charlie Brown," as a chorus member. She also recently appeared in Victoria East's production of "Guys and Dolls" as Sarah Brown. Heather is very excited to be a part of "High School Musical" and hopes to perform in many shows to come.

On playing Taylor:

"She's smart, but she's sassy and I like that."

Brett Hager - Ryan Evans

Brett Hager, 19, was last seen flying high above the ground in 2009 with Theatre Victoria's "Peter Pan." Since then, he has entered Baylor University as an English literature major with a music minor. He is dedicating his performance as Ryan Evans to the memory of his father, Dr. Mark Hager.

On playing Ryan:

"He's one of the most fun characters I've played. We're a lot alike, but he's a little meaner than I am."

Kate Klimist - Sharpay Evans

Kate Klimist, 15, of Victoria, is thrilled to be making her debut in her first lead role for Theatre Victoria. Studying dance and singing since the age of 4, Kate has appeared in "Annie," "Bye, Bye Birdie," "Seussical," "Peter Pan," "Once on This Island" and "The Music Man." Kate is a National Commended Honor Student, National Leadership and Service Award Winner and was selected as an ambassador for The National Society of High School Scholars. Volleyball is Kate's other passion.

On playing Sharpay:

"It's been so much fun because it's totally different. I'm not that mean and judgmental."

Taylor Shelly - Gabriella Montez

Taylor Shelly, 18, is a sophomore communication major at Texas A&M University. Her favorite productions include Port Lavaca Main Street Theatre's "Little Women," as Jo; Theatre Victoria's "Peter Pan," as Wendy; and Sally in "Charlie Brown." She has participated in Triple Threat camps for three years, but enjoys volunteering now.

On playing Gabriella:

"I like how she's able to go out for the audition. She doesn't want to be known as the "freaky math girl" at her new school. She goes against the status quo."

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