Friday, June 19, 2009

West Side Story Auditions

Are you interested in being a part of one of our shows? If so, HERE IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!

Sunday, July 26th

NC Theatre Studios, 3043 Barrow Drive, Raleigh, NC 27616


4:00pm - Male character actors for non-singing roles, age 35+ in appearance. Looking to cast Lt. Schrank, Gladhand, Krupke and Doc from these auditions. Bring headshot and resume stapled together front to back. Sides will be provided at sign in. Procedure: Sign in upon arrival at audition location; performers go in on a first come basis. Doors open for sign in at 3:00pm.

5:30pm – Female dancers who sing, age 16 to 30 in appearance. Wear dance attire; bring heels and flats. Dancing required in show is jazz and ballet. All dancers should be prepared to sing. Bring sheet music from a musical theatre song that shows vocal quality/range (can be a song from the show.) Accompanist provided. Bring headshot and resume stapled together front to back. Procedure: Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to dance audition start time. Female dancers go in promptly at 5:30pm and are taught a routine.

6:30pm – Male dancers who sing, age 16 to 30 in appearance. Wear dance attire; bring jazz shoes or sneakers and kneepads. Dancing required in show is jazz, ballet and athleticism. All dancers should be prepared to sing. Bring sheet music from a musical theatre song that shows vocal quality/range (can be a song from the show.) Accompanist provided. Bring headshot and resume stapled together front to back. Procedure: Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to dance audition start time. Male dancers go in promptly at 6:30pm and are taught a routine.


For more information, visit our website:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

HSM2 Reviews!

Disney's High School Musical 2 has received rave reviews and we couldn't be happier for our cast and crew!

The News & Observer says it's 'more than a preteen sequel' and that "'s infectiously performed with energetic verve by a cast of nearly 50, enhanced by Bobby Pestka's athletic choreography..." Read more here.

The Independent Weekly: "Those who love the Disney TV movies won't be disappointed: From the explosive opening number filled with flashy lighting design and set changes, and impressive dance steps, the show's cast of Broadway and local performers give the audience just what it came to see." For the full review, click here.

The Classical Voice of North Carolina: "North Carolina Theatre’s High School Musical 2 Has a
Stellar Cast, Spectacular Sets and Costumes, and a Band That Really Knows How to Rock!" Click here for the full review.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Interview with Robert McDowell

HSM2 director Casey Hushion gives Robert McDowell some insight on directing the production of High School Musical 2. If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check it out...there are still 8 performances left!
Tuesday, June 16-Friday, June 19: 8 PM
Saturday, June 20: 2 and 8 PM
Sunday, June 21: 2 and 7 PM
For tickets visit!

1. When did you first see or read or hear about this musical? Have you ever worked on a previous production of this musical? If so, when and where?

I was able to see the original Atlanta production of High School Musical 2 and of course, had to watch both the High School Musical films as well. I have never worked on a previous production.

2. What do you like BEST about this musical? What made you WANT to direct it?

I love the energy of this musical. It is built on adrenaline and the audience can not help but to get swept up in that. I wanted to direct this musical for the opportunity to engage all of the young local talent here in Raleigh. I knew with the talent we had here, we had the opportunity to make this a special event.

3. What MAJOR CHALLENGES does staging this musical present to you as a director -- and to your cast and creative team?

The only challenge for us has been the size of the cast. We intended to cast thirty, but discovered so much talent that we loved- so we ended up with a cast of fifty. It can be a challenge to coordinate a group of that size, but everyone has been incredibly professional every step of the way. It was important to me to make sure everyone felt included as much as possible. The creative challenge is to make sure we find the heart of the piece and do not let that get lost in the high energy and production value. Even though it is a simple story with young characters, their emotions and their circumstances are very real and honest and there is a true innocence and heart inside the piece.

6. Please describe the SET:

The set keeps the show moving at an incredible pace.

7. Please describe the LIGHTING:

The lighting has a lot of rock and roll elements at times, but can also pull back to more subtle theatrical lighting when the show calls for it. Our lighting designer has great taste and great style and his voice adds alot to the production.

8. Please describe the COSTUMES:

The costumes are very contemporary- modern, high school looks. There are some specialty items as well--you KNOW Sharpay and Ryan have quite a wardrobe!

9. Is there ANYTHING ELSE about this musical -- or your production -- that it is important for the audience to know ahead of time? If so, what?

Only that I think there is truly something for everyone in this show. The perception of it is that it belongs to kids and "tweens" but I think the performances and production numbers are so satisfying that theatre lovers of all ages can find elements to enjoy. It brings you back to a simpler time in your life- when a break up with your high school sweetheart was life and death and your biggest problem was how to spend your summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

HSM2 Walk-on Role Winners Announced

Five lucky ticket-buyers won the chance to be on stage with Troy & Gabriella following our five-week contest! Anyone who purchased a ticket to Disney's High School Musical 2 was entered into our drawing, and each week we pulled a name at random for a total of five walk-on roles.

The newest additions to the East High Wildcat family are:
  • Melissa Edwards of Raleigh will be seen on stage with Troy and Gabriella on Tuesday, June 16th at 8 PM. She is a rising sophomore at Enloe High School and spends most of her time cheerleading and tumbling.
  • Heather Coley got her Bachelor of Arts degree in dance and religion from Sweet Briar College in 2008 and is currently working on her Masters of Fine Arts in Performing Arts Management at UNC School of the Arts. Heather will take her turn on stage on Wednesday, June 17th at 8 PM.
  • Sandi Turner has been teaching kindergarten at Aversboro Elementary School in Garner for the past 20 years. She will make her North Carolina Theatre stage debut on Thursday, June 18th at 8 PM.
  • Waverly Kennedy is eight years old and a rising 3rd grader at Jeffrey’s Grove Elementary School. She loves gymnastics and art, and is very excited to take her turn on stage with the Wildcats on Friday, June 19th at 8 PM.
  • Larisa Burnett will make her debut on the NC Theatre stage on Sunday, June 21st at 2 PM. She is a freshman at Woods Charter School in Chatham County, and enjoys playing the piano, writing, volleyball and cheerleading.
Congratulations to our contest winners! We are so excited for their opportunity to be on stage in the show!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sharpay on 93.9 KISS FM & News 14 Carolina!

On Monday I took Gretchen to 93.9 KISS FM - here is a picture after the interview with morning show host, Dave Kent! Click here to watch the interview in the radio studio!

Gretchen and I also headed over to the News 14 studio where she talked with Tracey Early about the production. Check it out here!

HSM2 Sitzprobe

Last night was the "sitzprobe" for our production of High School Musical 2. If you Google it, you will learn that it’s a German word that means "sitting down and singing with the orchestra." In some circles it is referred to as "first band-call." It is the very first time during our very short rehearsal process that all elements of sound - orchestra and voices - come together and it is a very exacting and highly important process. As our Technical Director Bill Yates Jr. said, "Very few people will notice a missed lighting cue, but if something happens with sound, we hear about it." Microphones are calibrated for each of the performers and they stand on stage right in front of the orchestra pit and sing along with the musicians (and boy do they sound fabulous)! Our highly talented musical director Eddy Robinson had been working through every performer's song repertoire during the rehearsal process and now his attention is turned to the union of voices with instruments. And our sound designer, Duncan Edwards, took painstaking measures to ensure the high quality of the sound - and what a rockin' sound we heard last night! We are going to blow the roof off of Raleigh Memorial Auditorium!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Casey on TV!

NC Theatre is very fortunate to have someone like Casey Hushion on our staff and working with our local youth in our fabulous production of Disney's High School Musical 2! When Casey is not working on a North Carolina Theatre production, either as director or artistic director, she is working on an array of other projects. One of these projects is Broadway's In The Heights, where she is the assistant director on the show. In The Heights won four Tony's, including Best Musical in 2007!

PBS aired a special called In The Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams. In case you missed it, you must visit their website and check out the clips - it is truly inspiring! And you will catch a glimpse of Casey in a few of the shots! Click here and enjoy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

National High School Musical Theater Awards

And the 2009 Capital Award goes to… Wait, let me back up! This wasn’t just any Capital Award, this was the Capital Award that had every student on pins and needles waiting to hear the result. This wasn’t just a student hearing their name, making an acceptance speech, taking some pictures, and that’s it. This was just the beginning. If your name was called, your life was about to change!

About a year ago Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and The Nederlander Foundation Inc. teamed up to create the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, a national program for those talented few who received the award for Outstanding Leading Actor and Actress in their hometown. These students will be flown up to New York City to work with a team of theatre professionals and a panel of experts for the chance to receive a 4-year scholarship to New YorkUniversity’s Tisch School of the Arts.

And the 2009 Capital Award goes to… Seth Johnson for his role as Jean Valjean at CaryAcademy and Rebecca Brinkley for her role as Evita at Cedar Ridge High School! On June 25they will be flown up to NYC, courtesy of Capital Bank, for 4 days of private lessons, master classes, rehearsals and finally the show on June 29, 2009 at the Skirball Center on NYU’s campus. They could not happier for this opportunity and are so excited to get up there and start the process.

Rebecca & Seth with Grant Yarber, Capital Bank CEO & President.

For more information, please visit

~Staci Thornton, Education & Outreach Manager

High School Musical 2 Interviews

One of the fun parts of being Communications Manager involves dealing with the media. I love pitching our shows and different story ideas to the newspaper, radio and television stations and setting up interviews with different cast members. Gretchen Bieber is starring in High School Musical 2 as Sharpay - and she is the one who I will take on the interviews for this particular show. Gretchen has been in the Broadway and Broadway National Tour of Hairspray. She also was a semi-finalist in NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want and All My Children. She starred in the regional production of Disney's High School Musical as Sharpay as well!

She had a phone interview this week on Bill & Lynda in the Morning's show on MIX 101.5. In case you missed it, click here to listen to the interview (and enter to win a Family Four Pack of tickets to the show)!

On Monday, I'm taking Gretchen to the News 14 TV studio where she'll talk to Tracey Early, then we will head on over to the Dave Kent show on 93.9 KISS FM. I will hopefully post photos and/or video from these next week!

Also, stay tuned for a feature on HSM2 with ABC11's anchor Angela Hampton. She visited our studios yesterday to interview Chandon Jones, a Sharpette, and High School Musical 2 director, Casey Hushion. They also got some great footage of the rehearsal! 

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Sound of Music Cast List

After the largest audition turn out in NC Theatre history, The Sound of Music has been cast! The Sound of Music runs July 25 through August 2 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets, visit 

Kate Fisher* (Maria)
Tom Galantich* (Captain von Trapp)
Suzanne Ishee* (Mother Abbess)
Christine Hunter* (Elsa)
Vinny Genna* (Max)
Aaron Young* (Rolf)
Alex Bowers (Liesl)
English Brewer Bernhardt (Louisa)
Daniel Marhelko (Friedrich)
Roxanna Demers (Brigitta)
Trey Fitts (Kurt)
Gabby Simone (Marta)
Mary Kate Englehardt (Gretl)

Male Chorus:
J. Michael Beech*
Larry Cox
Jason Mark Durst*
Tal Fish
Chris King
Danny W. Norris
Jonathan Stahl* (Dance Captain)

Female Chorus/Nuns:
Mary Adamek
Katherine Anderson
Monique Argent
Karen Dear
Emily Feuerstein
Chantal Sosa Hollatschek
Heather Patterson King*
Alison Lawrence
Judy Long
Kathleen Lynch
Hilary Ruso
Alexa Wildish

*Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association