NORMAN — Norman North High School students are taking the wacky characters of “High School Musical” — like basketball stud Troy Bolton and drama queen Sharpay Evans — from the screen to the stage this weekend.
Students will perform the two-act, double-cast play filled with popular music from the Disney Channel TV movie version 7 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Nancy O’Brian Center for the Performing Arts, 1809 Stubbeman Ave.
The story follows students at East High School struggling to understand changing identities and accepting their peers for who they are, said Alexis Chambers, senior playing Gabriella Montez. Of course, it’s peppered with healthy doses of humor and upbeat songs.
Chambers said her character, Gabriella, a math nerd, meets Troy, the school basketball star, while singing during a karaoke contest on New Year’s Eve. When Gabriella begins class at her new school, she discovers she already knows Troy.
“They accidentally end up trying out for the school musical and it kind of causes a riot in the school,” Chambers said. “They try to convince everyone it’s not a big deal, and they shouldn’t be afraid to do what they love.”
Chaos ensues as characters like Chad Danforth and Taylor McKessie, Troy and Gabriella’s friends, and Ryan Evans and Sharpay — considered the school’s top theatrical talents — attempt to thwart the budding talents’ efforts.
Artistic director Tony Gonzalez said the plot of “High School Musical” naturally carries themes and motifs that are typical of a high school experience, but the script and music also lend the production a light-hearted whimsy.
“They’ll enjoy it,” he said of the audience. “The music is just clean-cut, easy, rock ‘n’ roll ballads and music. It’s got a lot of dancing in it. It’s very appealing.”
For students, Chambers and senior Jerika Herbert, both playing Gabriella, the show is much more than just a high-energy production.
“It’s about not being afraid of what other people think of you and doing what makes you happy,” Chambers said.
“It’s about being yourself,” Herbert agreed.
The stage-version brings several new songs that the movie doesn’t include and is a good reason for movie fans to come out to the production, Lock said.
“It’s ‘High School Musical.’ Everyone kind of knows it. It has a good energy. It’s good to see the stage production of something. People who don’t regularly go see musicals — it’s a good way to get into it by something you’re already kind of familiar with.”
Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for children age 6 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the NNHS office, 1809 Stubbeman Ave.