HHS’s High School Musical: Cast Interviews Part 2


Marifel Miguel, Chief Editor

Along with asking the cast about their thoughts on opening night, favorite scenes, and their overall thoughts on the musical I was able to speak to the director Ms. Marchelle Roniet, choreographer Sophia Basilone, and seniors Estelle Barbieri(Ryan Evans) and Natalie Poma(Gabriella Montez) on their thoughts on “High School Musical” being their last high school production and any advice they would give to students who are interested in participating future musicals.


Choreographer Interview

The Clarion: One of the aspects that make High School Musical what it is, is its memorable choreography. How did you feel going into doing the choreography for the musical?

Sophia: I was glad that since this show has such an iconic choreo I wouldn’t be starting every single dance from scratch and I would have some references.

The Clarion: What was your favorite and most challenging number to choreograph?

Sophia: My favorite number to choreograph was Getcha Head in the game. The cast really picked up the dance well and made it all I could’ve hoped for and more! The most challenging was probably the large group numbers like Stick to the Status Quo and We’re all in this Together.

The Clarion: What was your process going into doing the choreography? Did you study the movie or come up with some of your stuff?

Sophia: To come up with choreo I would first look at what the movie and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series came up with and pick out the steps I liked. From there I just filled in the parts I was missing with my own choreography. 

The Clarion: What made you decide to do the choreography?

Sophia: I decided to do choreography since I was a dancer freshman year in the play for Beauty and the Beast. I have also been dancing for 14 years so out of all the manager positions in the play I knew choreographer was the one for me.


Director Interview 

The Clarion: How do you feel about opening night excited, nervous, a little of both?

Ms. Ronnie: It’s definitely both!  We haven’t had a musical on stage since Bye Bye Birdie, and they are certainly more challenging to put together than a play.  I’m always a little bit nervous before opening night, but I know it’s going to go well! I am excited to bring this show to the HHS stage as it is a special one, for me, and it has been a highly requested show from cast and crew members for the past few years.  I am also excited that the whole cast and crew will be able to show everyone all of their hard work and just share in the joy that this show brings.

The Clarion: Is there a scene/musical number in particular that are you most excited for the audience to see?

Ms. Ronnie: “Get’cha Head in the Game”, choreographed by Sophia Basilone, is so much fun to watch!  Being able to see how far that number has come to this tightly choreographed number just makes it one that stands out to me very well.  I think audiences will enjoy this number immensely.  There is a scene between Ryan and Sharpay in the 2nd Act that never fails to make me laugh due to the dialogue. I’m sure audiences will be able to figure out which one it is when that scene occurs, and the great comedic delivery of the actresses and the actor on stage.

The Clarion: How do you feel about this being the senior’s last production and is there anything you’d like to say to them?

Ms. Ronnie: It’s always difficult for me to say goodbye to seniors as I get to know them so well, especially the ones who have been involved for many years.  They have been leaders, role models, my “go-to” people, and just amazing individuals that I’ve been fortunate enough to know.  I want the seniors to know that I am proud of them and that I can’t say thank you enough for all of the many things that they have done over the years in supporting this program.  It’s been a joy to watch so many grow from freshman year to senior year, and I hope that they continue to engage in the arts in the future as they graduate from HHS! 

The Clarion: What about High School Musical made you decide to make it the Spring Musical?

Ms. Ronnie: In choosing a show for the musical, I wanted to do something that was purely fun and enjoyable.  I think we needed something cheerful as our last musical was unfortunately canceled due to COVID, and High School Musical just seemed like the right choice.  It felt appropriate as this year was a return to the stage, and the last time it was performed here at HHS was in 2008.  This was also the first musical performed at the school when the program was revived by Ms. Hackett in 2003, and so it was fitting to have the first play done during this revival, Our Town, in the fall and the first musical, High School Musical, in the spring for this school year as we celebrate our return to the stage from COVID closures.  

The Clarion: Since this is the last production for the year, what piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking about auditioning for future plays?

Ms. Ronnie: Just come out and audition!  There is always worry about schedules, sports, work, and not knowing anyone, but I’m always willing to work with your schedule to make it work! I’ve seen students go from being super shy and unsure of themselves in one year to the starring role and bursting with confidence not long after.  It can seem scary at first, but the cast and crew really become close making it a safe place to try something new or jump into something you are passionate about!  Even if you do not want to be on stage, there are so many roles within the crew that are available as well.  We will teach you to run soundboards, and light boards, how to call the show, and build skills with set design and costuming. The theater is a place for everyone, and I hope to see you in the fall auditioning to be in the play or signing up to join us in the crew!

The Clarion: Is there anything you’d like to say to the cast and crew?

Ms. Ronnie: Time always flies by the closer we get to a show.  It’s bittersweet because I am so excited for everyone to see the show and watch you all perform, but it also means that we are that much closer to saying goodbye to this show and our seniors.  I can’t thank each of you enough for all of the hard work and dedication that you have put into making this show and this entire year so successful.  Enjoy every minute of these performances, and know that I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of you! 

  • To the crew:  Thank you all so much for the countless hours you have spent painting, tearing apart flats to make the “Bills”, fixing so many things, and going with the flow to make this show work.  I always say the crew are the “unsung heroes” of any performance.  Without you, there would be no way to bring the magic of theater alive.  Each of your contributions matters so much, and you should be proud of all of your work from the costumes, the scenes and sets, the music and sound, and the lights throughout the show.  
  • To the cast: I am so proud of you! It is not easy to go on stage and perform multiple times in a single week, but you’ve all taken this on with such grace and maturity.  You’ve learned an incredible amount of music, we’ve added a ton of choreography, and some of you additionally had to learn this all while still dribbling a basketball.  We’ve reworked and reset scenes straight into tech week, and the smiles and laughter haven’t wavered.  Your energy is limitless, and I hope you enjoy every moment you are on stage!  


Senior Questions:

The Clarion: How do you feel about this being your last production?

Estelle: I am sad to be leaving, but I have had the absolute best time performing for HHS. This show has been absolutely amazing and I couldn’t ask for a more perfect send off than High School Musical! The show is so over the top and it’s been such a cool experience to play Ryan Evans!

Natalie:  I could not have asked for a better cast and crew. I love these people with my entire heart, and I wish we had more time left to spend together. It is one of the most bittersweet moments of my life.

The Clarion: What piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking about auditioning for future plays?

Estelle: It is totally worth the commitment! If you’re worried about being on stage there are smaller parts that can help ease you into things, the community is one giant family and I’ve made wonderful friends here, and it’s truly so much fun and so rewarding. If you’re not sure about auditioning I say go for it! You won’t regret it.

Natalie: Go for it. Seriously, even if you are doubting yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? I never would have expected to get a lead part in a musical, and I honestly believe that if you give it a shot, you may be surprised with the results. Even if you do not want to do a part, apply for a crew. This is one big family, people you can count on for the rest of your life. I wouldn’t change a single thing.



I would like to thank the cast and Ms.Ronnie for answering my questions. This past week has been so chaotic with the rehearsals and shows and yet still took the time to do this for me thank you so much! The Clarion would like to Congratulate the cast and crew on their amazing performances over the weekend. Hopefully, the next fall and spring productions are just as amazing!