Two students at Evans Middle School have enjoyed the challenge of being part of the school’s musical, “High School Musical, Jr.” The show, a Disney Channel smash hit, will be performed Saturday, April 1 at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Evans Auditorium.
North Lindell, a seventh grader, will portray Troy Bolton, the captain of the basketball team. His previous stage experience includes the Ottumwa Community Children’s Playhouse production of “The Little Mermaid.” “I’m somewhat athletic but I don’t play basketball,” Lindell said of his role.
Kilye Hucks portrays Kelsi Nielson, the writer of the play in the show. While normally outgoing, her character is shy. She also has previous stage experience. She performed in a musical as a sixth grader and a comedy production last year. The message of the production, “don’t be afraid of what others think,” said Hucks. “Just go for it.”
Both students enjoy singing and participate in choir and show choir. Future plans include being involved in vocal music in high school.
Hucks enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time with friends. “We spent extra time after school and had laughs together,” she said.
For Lindell, he liked pretending to be someone else. “It’s fun,” he said. Getting into character included learning to maneuver a basketball for Lindell. For Hucks, it meant learning to pretend to play the piano.
The hardest part for the pair was conflicts with other school activities. Both participate in Odyssey of the Mind, which competes on Saturday in Ames. Hucks shared that six cast members will spend the day in Ames, “then race back for show night.” And today, Hucks had an OM team rehearsal at 6:30 a.m. and will have a dress rehearsal for the musical after school until 7 p.m.
“It’s hard to know which to do,” said Lindell. He tries to balance his schedule so he can participate in the things that interest him.
Director Pam De Boer said she is impressed with the efforts of her students. “It’s great to see kids step forward and be leaders in different ways.”
I’m super excited,” said Hucks. “The musical came out when we were little kids so I’m familiar with the music. This will be our own adaptation.”