High School Musical actors relate to characters they play

By by camille m. doty/cdoty@vicad.com
July 21, 2011 at 2:21 a.m.

Theatre Victoria's production of High School Musical opens July 22 at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.

Theatre Victoria's production of High School Musical opens July 22 at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.


Taylor Shelly made good grades in school like her character, Gabriella Montez.

But unlike her "High School Musical" character, she is not a fan of math.

The Port Lavaca resident described herself as more outgoing than her Disney character.

"I didn't have to break free of my shell. I was known as the singer," she said.

Shelly, a communications major, said the high school musical concept appeals to many people because they can relate.

She said the modern phenomenon is like the 21st century "Grease" because of the catchy music. But, there are some slight differences between the two.

"You had the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds in 'Grease.' But in 'High School Musical,' you cover each clique," she said.

The Texas A&M sophomore said she brought back her high school feelings to channel her lead part.

For inspiration, Shelly looks to actress Anneliese Vander Pol.

"I want to be like her," said the 18-year-old actress.

Shelly hopes to follow in her favorite actress' footsteps by next playing Belle from "Beauty and the Beast."

On Friday, Taylor will take center stage. She said the storyline between the stage-play and movie is the same, but Crossroads spectators will have pleasant surprises.

"There's additional scenes and songs. It will help to explain the story a little bit better than the movie" she said.


Tad Cooley has felt the pressure of being a high school athlete like his character Troy Bolton in "High School Musical."

He was even coached by his stepfather.

"I felt people depended on me," said Tad.

An ear-related injury put his contact sport days on the sidelines. And now, the former linebacker said he's more focused on acting.

His similar experiences to the lead character helped him to channel Troy. Just like the character, he stepped out of the ordinary to switch from athletics to the arts.

The 17-year-old from Vanderbilt said he was treated differently when he decided to pursue acting. But people eventually came around.

Tad said he enjoyed the feeling of being on stage and the response he gets from the audience.

"It's the only time you can be something else totally different and be accepted," he said.

The Industrial High School student said it's an honor to play the male lead.

He said he doesn't plan to disappoint his audience.

"I have to give it my all because I need to give Theatre Victoria what it deserves," he said.


Meet the actors of 'High School Musical'

Catching up with Matt Prokop

Why "High School Musical" is so big



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