It’s been 12 years since we first watched Troy and Gabriella ring in the new year, and heard those iconic songs that bring memories of a brand new way of musical dancing. I remember watching the Disney special that proclaimed you could learn the dance moves and dance along with the finale. I tried for awhile and realized that they weren’t really talking to me….(ah, to be young again).
After the movie came two sequels and a stage production and a message, well, actually several messages.
1. Be brave enough to try something new.
When Troy and Gabriella were first pushed on stage together to sing karaoke, they were totally beyond their comfort zones. In spite of their fear they discovered something new that they really enjoyed! We often are afraid to try something different–don’t let fear stop you.
2. Break the weight and bonds of cliques.
Learning to enjoy things that others do is a wonderful part of life. The drama geeks can all learn from the jocks who can learn from the tech wizards who can learn from the….well, you get my drift. High school is such a short period of time. Don’t miss something really special by staying in a clique.
In fact, one of my favorite moments as a director was watching one of the “jocks”of the high school I was volunteering at get the courage to audition for Fiddler on the Roof. His hands were shaking so bad! He got the part and proceeded to lead that school in a way that really helped make all the students more well rounded.
3. The “status quo” is a prison that we put ourselves in.
All it took was word that Troy Bolton started singing for an entire cafeteria of students to confess their own secret passions. It’s amazing how people follow the leader. If you have a secret desire to try something new go for it!
4. Communicate with your parents.
This is a part of the movie I feel very strongly about. I think it’s important to be respectful of your parents. If they want you to do something it’s probably because they want the best for you. But, maybe they just don’t know how powerful your feelings are inside of you. It was hard for Troy to tell his dad that he was interested in theater because he didn’t want to hurt him, but believe me, your parents want you to talk to them and share what you are going through.
5. There’s room for everyone on stage.
Oh, I could talk forever about this one. Sharpay and Ryan were the leads in every musical. They intimidated others and thought they were better than everyone else. People–just because you aren’t the lead doesn’t mean that someone is better than you. Every person on the stage is important and sharing the stage makes a much better show! Please don’t feel like you aren’t talented or not important just because you didn’t get a solo or named part. Also, don’t be opposed to playing something other than the lead. Many times being a part of the ensemble can be just as challenging and rewarding.
6. A real friend is in your court no matter what.
It may have been hard for Chad to accept that Troy was getting his head into a game other than basketball, but in the end, he wanted his friend to be able to fulfill both his dreams. Real friends stand by you even if the
things you have in common start to change. They support you as you gain new skills and encourage you to be a better person.
7. You’re never alone.
Remember this. In this day and age that the suicide rate is up–this lesson is important. We’re all in this together. Some days are hard. Sometimes you might feel like you are alone. You might feel that you aren’t smart enough or talented enough or loved enough. We are all in this thing together, and there’s nothing that you’re going through that a million others aren’t too. Remember that.
This past two weeks 41 students, 7 directors, 3 costumers and a 3 person tech team came together to put on our own production of High School Musical, Jr. We created memories, made new friends and hopefully were all reminded of these very lessons.
Theater camp is one of the highlights of my year. To all of those involved: thank you for making this experience so delightful!
Musical theatre teaches.
What are some lessons you learned from camp or High School Musical ?? I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time!