State College Community Theatre takes Disney smash from screen to stage

The State College Community Theatre production “Disney’s High School Musical” is based on the 2006 film.
The State College Community Theatre production “Disney’s High School Musical” is based on the 2006 film. Photo provided

Disney’s smash hit movie “High School Musical” will come to life on The State Theatre stage as the students of East High deal with first love, friends and family, all while balancing classes and extracurricular activities. The State College Community Theatre production will run Aug. 11-14.

“Disney’s High School Musical” is a story of students Troy and Gabriella, who meet while singing karaoke on a school vacation. In a turn of events, Gabriella moves to the same school where Troy is a huge basketball star, and she is quickly approached by the brainiacs who want her science genius as part of their science decathlon team.

The cast includes Austen Auriemma as Troy Bolton, Kaitlyn Whitesell as Gabriella Montez, Emma Holderman as Sharpay Evans, Devon Tighe as Ryan Evans and Matt Shaffer as Coach Bolton.

“Disney’s High School Musical” is based on the 2006 Disney Channel movie, which has since become a trilogy of films written by Peter Barsocchini, with music adapted, arranged and produced by Bryan Louiselle. This SCCT production is directed by Jennifer Krempa.

“When Troy and Gabriella audition for the school’s musical and get a call back, it turns the school upside down and, inspired by their example, other students defy the school cliques in favor of standing up for what they love,” Krempa said. “The school drama club star and show diva, Sharpay, conspires to find a way to keep them from getting the lead role, and together, Troy and Gabriella must figure out how to navigate the basketball championship, the decathlon, their friends’ expectations and ultimately their desire to sing with one another and to show the school who they really are.”

Auriemma’s character is the star of the basketball team who wants to be more than just a jock. Troy falls for Gabriella through singing with her, and their singing together is what drives their relationship, along with the rest of the story.

“It was a bit of a challenge at first to really relate to the jock part of Troy that he shows to his peers to fit in,” Auriemma said. “But as he starts to open up to Gabriella through singing with her and through their very honest conversations, the character becomes more and more relatable.”

When Krempa was asked to direct the show, she said she just couldn’t say no, as the movie instantly became a favorite of her 4-year-old sister when it came out.

“The songs got stuck in our heads and we quickly knew every line by heart,” she said. “It is such a fun show with incredibly catchy music that I think you can’t help but want to sing and dance along, which was an irresistible combination to want to direct.”

The popularity of the “High School Musical” movies and the familiarity with them among most of the cast has allowed them to find different ways to make the production their own.

“This show has so many crazy and fun moments in it, and every character in the show has a chance to interact with most, if not all, of the other characters,” Auriemma said. “As these interactions have changed and developed throughout the rehearsal process, we have all grown and become closer to each other offstage as well.”

Krempa believes the show is all about breaking down barriers and realizing that even though we are all different, “we make each other strong.”

“I hope that this show is an uplifting reminder of the power of coming together and that even in small ways, we have the ability to impact lives by accepting and recognizing one another,” she said.

“It is such a fun, energetic show, and I hope that it at least puts a smile on everyone’s faces,” Auriemma said. “I also hope that it can be something that inspires others to do whatever it is that they love to do, and to be accepting of what those around them love to do as well. This is a message I feel that we could all use right now to help remind us of what truly matters.”


  • What: State College Community Theatre’s “Disney’s High School Musical”
  • When: Aug 11-14
  • Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
  • Info: www.scctonline.org