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Published: Thursday, 7/9/2009

Adrian's Croswell Opera House goes to 'High School'

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, and Ryan and a few dozen of their friends are heading this way.

Don't know who they are? You've managed to miss one of the biggest cultural phenomena of the 21st century ... so far. These are the key characters in Disney's made-for-TV movie High School Musical and its sequel, High School Musical 2: On Stage.

The Croswell Opera House in Adrian presents the theatrical version of the sequel this week and next, and it will be the first time the full-length show will be produced in the region, said director Bill Quinlan of Toledo.

He equates the High School Musical movies with the beach-party films of the '60s starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, and he links the popularity to teens relating to the characters.

The types of people they see in the stories are the same ones they see in their classes, he said.

The show takes place after school is out for the summer. Football hero Troy Bolton and his girlfriend, Gabriella Montez, get jobs at the Lava Springs Country Club where the jealous Sharpay Evans and her brother, Ryan, are members. Sharpay, who wants Troy as her boyfriend, sets out to sabotage Gabriella in her job and in a production that the East High gang plans to present at the club.

"There really are no bad guys in the show," Quinlan said. "Sharpay's as close as you get, and it's more about jealousy and ego than it is evil."

Quinlan's cast is composed mostly of high school students from northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, with Ben Andre of Adrian playing Troy, Jordon Wylie of Ann Arbor playing Gabriella, Marlena Hilderley of Tecumseh as Sharpay, and Steven Kiss of Lambertville as Ryan.

The show is for all ages, Quinlan said. There's plenty of singing, dancing, and colorful costumes for the younger set, and older pop culture references for parents and other adults.

"Disney High School Musical 2: On Stage" opens tomorrow in the Croswell Opera House, 129 East Maumee St., Adrian. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday through July 19. Tickets are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors and students, and $16 for youngsters ages 12 and younger, with upper-balcony discounts available. Information: 517-264-7469 or croswell.org.

The Huron Playhouse turns the clock back a few decades as it prepares to present The 1940's Radio Hour by Walton Jones.

Opening Tuesday, the play is set in 1942 in New York's Hotel Astor, where the Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade is on the air for its weekly radio show, complete with singing, sound effects, and funny commercials for indispensable items - or items that the sponsors hope are indispensable.

Songs in the production include "That Old Black Magic," "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," "Ain't She Sweet," "Blues in the Night," and "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy."

"The 1940's Radio Hour" opens Tuesday and runs through July 18 in the Huron Playhouse in McCormick School, 325 Ohio St., Huron, Ohio. Performances are at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for students and seniors, and $10 for children 11 and younger from the playhouse box office. Information: 419-433-4744.

•In a change from the past few seasons, the Village Players offers a summer show: Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound. The absurdist comedy centers on two mediocre theater critics, Birdboot and Moon, whose critical comments about the play they're watching put them right in the center of the action.

Directed by J. Judson Lohman, the show stars Jake Gordy and Matt Kizur as Moon and Birdboot. Also in the cast are Brittany Barnes, Derek Hansen, Brad Riker, Sara Speelman, Andy Striph, and Dottie Zimmerman.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through July 18. Tickets are $10. Information: 419-472-6817.

•The Wiz begins a four-day run tonight in the Toledo Repertoire Theatre. Presented by the Rep's teen company, the musical features a cast of 40 from the Toledo School for the Arts and Cardinal Stritch, Start, Central, and Whitmer high schools. Co-directed by Amelia LeFevre and Joe Jackson, shows are at 7 p.m. today-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the theater at 16 10th St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Information: 419-243-9277.

wThe Historical Society of Grand Rapids, Ohio, will present Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday in the theater on the second floor (handicapped-accessible) of the Town Hall on Front Street in Grand Rapids. Sam Macera directs, and Deborah Tell choreographs. Tickets, $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 and younger, are available at the door. Information: 419-878-6826.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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