---- — DERRY — Students are Gilbert H. Hood Middle School are gearing up this week for opening night of the school’s spring production of Disney’s “High School Musical Jr.”
The play is set to be performed at the school Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23, at 7 p.m.
The show is under the direction of longtime local music educator Marilyn Olbricht and is also being staged by Hood’s parent volunteer organization, the Keynotes.
The Keynotes have been an integral part of all aspects of Hood school plays and musicals since the first one took the stage in 1976. The group handles production tasks, publicity, costumes, tickets, and much work in front of and behind the curtain.
The show features a cast of middle-schoolers taking on the roles of the popular “High School Musical” teens, including Gabriella, Troy, Sharpay and Taylor.
Some roles are traditionally double cast at Hood. This year, the role of Gabriella is being played by both Emily St. Louis and Emily DeWolf, both eighth-graders at Hood.
For director Olbricht, it’s a chance to put all her knowledge and expertise about music and performance to good use.
“Watching students work together to create a musical is a fascinating and rewarding experience,” she said. “Although I take great pride in the students’ work on the music, choreography and acting, my joy comes from watching each of them work on intrinsic skills such as commitment, delayed gratification, patience and time management.”
Olbricht said she hopes students participating in the play will gain valuable life skills they will remember.
She spent many years teaching music in Derry and was awarded several honors, including Derry Education Assocation Volunteer of the Year, Derry Educator Award and an Honorary Lifetime PTA membership award.
Tickets for “High School Musical Jr.” will be available at the door on show nights. The cost is $8 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens.