“I refuse to do another show that gets shut down, Lou!” Tracey screamed from the office. “Pick something that the board will approve of, or I’m directing the show this year!”
Jeremy glanced up from his bag of chips, glancing around the room and then at the office door. “That doesn’t sound good,” he muttered.
“You think Ms. Wolfe will really direct the show this year?” Simon asked.
Harmony glanced at the office, before biting into her apple. “Probably..Mazzu wants to do RENT this year and that definitely won’t fly after Spring Awakening and Bare. At least Ms. Wolfe can pick good shows?”
“One can only hope.”
“...Now, what you’ve all been waiting for. This year’s musical will be High School Musical,” Lou announced at the drama club meeting a few days later, while making direct eye contact with Robbie. “Auditions will be on Friday, and rehearsals start the following Monday. I hope to see you all there. You can pick up audition materials in the green room.”
He quickly exited the stage to his office, leaving the teens to chatter amongst themselves.
“Does anyone know why Mr. Mazzu was staring at me?” Robbie asked, grabbing his bag. “He was staring at me the entire time.”
The troupe glanced between each other, stifling laughter. “Guys, what?!” Robbie persisted.
“Just...audition for Troy,” Lilette smiled, holding back a laugh. “You’ll see.”
The buzz in the theatre as scripts were distributed to the cast was electric. For many members of the drama club, this was to be their last show, and while it was disappointing for them not to do a more controversial show, High School Musical was a classic. It was part of their childhoods, so despite its family friendly themes, it was still fun.
“I’m glad to see such a great turn out,” Tracey smiled with a clap of her hands. “Why don’t we go around and introduce ourselves, for all the new people, and share your role?”
“I’ll start?” Lilette offered. “Hi, I’m Lilette, and I’m playing Gabriella.”
They continued around the circle, with everyone sharing their roles. Robbie was playing Troy, no surprise to anyone, Jolene was Sharpay with Jeremy as her Ryan, Harmony and Clark were Taylor and Chad respectively, Lexi was Kelsi, Annabelle was Ms. Darbus, Francis was Coach Bolton, Simon was Zeke, Sasha was Martha, Michael was Ripper, and Kaitlin was Jackie Scott.
“Let’s start with learning the music. I know you all think you know it already, but you still have to learn harmonies and not just the melodies. And I promise it’ll be a lot harder when we add choreography, especially with Gwen and Ms. Wolfe working on creating the best choreography possible. It might be a lot of work, but I’m sure it’ll be great,” Lou beamed. “Now, let's start with Start of Something New.”
As Robbie and Lilette sang, the Understudies - most of which were no longer understudies and couldn’t be called that - grouped together in a small huddle, seemingly looking over their music and lines.
“Is this just going to be another Robbie and Lilette year?” Lexi muttered, thumbing through her script. “I don’t think I’d be able to handle them being all lovey-dovey for the third year in a row.”
Jolene rolled her eyes. “I hope not. They don’t even realize that Mazzu picked this show for them, because it’s just oh-so-perfect,” she sighed. “I mean, having to decide between sports and theatre? That’s literally Robbie sophomore year. Hell, even last year.”
“Not to mention how perfect Gabriella is for Lilette,” Annabelle commented. “Single mom, insanely smart, that sweet, girl next door attitude?”
“Guys,” Simon piped up. “Cut it out.”
“Simon’s right!” Clark grinned. “We should be happy, most of us got really great roles this year. I’m just happy for that.”
“Okay, yeah, but there’s no gay undertones for you and Francis to play with here,” Jeremy teased, leaning back on his elbows. “You can’t even create them. Francis is playing Robbie’s dad.”
“You’re just upset because you and Simon can’t either,” Francis shot back.
“Sure we can,” Jeremy sat up. “Don’t you know Zeke and Ryan were having a secret gay affair? And Zeke used Sharpay as a coverup? Because that was more repulsive to his teammates than being gay, in his mind?”
Simon leaned over and kissed Jeremy softly, resulting in protests from the circle. “I’ll remember that for our scenes together,” he whispered.
“Let’s move to Status Quo, since you all seem to be bored,” Lou decided. “Everyone up. After this, Ms. Wolfe and Gwen want to start the dances.”
Status Quo’s music was fairly easy to learn, however the dance was not. In Ms. Wolfe’s vision, she wanted to bring tables in from the cafeteria, and use those as the cafeteria tables in the song. Which meant students would be dancing on tables and chairs, as well as on the stage, in addition to a platform for the drama kids table.
“Alright,” Tracey nodded. “Let’s have Robbie, Simon, and all the basketball team members stage right, Sasha and the brainiacs center stage, and Michael and the skaters stage left.”
A sophomore raised their hand, staring at Ms. Wolfe. “Where should the ensemble kids go?” they asked.
“None of you got assignments?” Tracey questioned with a long sigh.The ensemble shook their heads, frowning. “Okay, well, I’ll just count you off. Ones are jocks, twos are brainiacs, and threes are skaters. Kaitlin...sit with the brainiacs.”
They were about halfway through blocking the marked choreography, using folding chairs as seats, and completely running the choreography, when one of the freshmen fell off their chair, landing on their ankle.
“Let’s..take five?” Lou suggested, as he and Tracey surrounded the freshman. “Let’s call your mom, Sarah.”
The original troupe gathered together, sitting near the edge of the stage. The eerie near-silence surrounded them, until Harmony spoke up.
“So...ten bucks says this show is cursed because of all the bad energy in here,” she said calmly.
Jeremy raised an eyebrow. “Bad energy?”
“All our cancelled shows! So, are we getting or not?”
The troupe shared a look. “You’re on,” Robbie nodded. “If you win, we all owe you ten bucks. But if the show isn’t cursed, you owe all of us ten bucks.”
Harmony frowned. “That’s, like, one hundred twenty dollars! I don’t have that money!” she protested.
“Fair is fair,” Francis shrugged.
Harmony let out a huff. “Fine. Bet on it.”