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Westfield Summer Stage's 'High School Musical'

Already wildly popular on the Disney Channel, "High School Musical" will be presented Thursday-Sunday, July 26-29, by Westfield Summer Stage in the Westfield High theater.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. each night, plus a 2 p.m. matinee, July 28. Tickets are $10 via PayPal at www.westfieldtheatreboosters.com.

"THE SHOW IS FUN, happy and family-oriented, and the dancing will really amaze people," said Director Lori Knickerbocker. "And the students are excited about doing this show because they know it, inside and out. They want to be those characters, so it's a labor of love."

The musical has a cast and crew of more than 50 and, said Knickerbocker, "The kids are fantastic — a wonderful group of young actors. Some are from outside the school, and those budding, new friendships are one of the neatest things about Summer Stage."

She said the show's also a real collaboration between Musical Director Charlie Manship, Choreographer Yvonne Henry and Henry's daughter, Westfield grad Megan, who's the stage manager. And head carpenter Greg Aucott has done a phenomenal job with the sets. With Summer Stage, lots of parents are working hard behind the scenes."

"High School Musical" is about Troy Bolton, captain of the high-school basketball team, and shy transfer student Gabriella Montez, who excels in math and science. They both try out for the leads in their school's musical. Despite obstacles from some other students, they follow their dreams, while everyone learns about acceptance, teamwork and being one's self.

Playing Troy is Westfield sophomore Taylor Aucott, and portraying Gabriella is junior Claire Manship. Sophomore Phoebe Dillard said the show is "like real high school. But this says it's OK to be yourself, even if you have to go against your clique."

And Westfield senior Garrett Henson said the audience will love the happy ending: "Kids can see themselves on stage, as high-school students, in the future. And they'll want to get up and dance."