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.

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