As one alum described it, joining the choir program was like getting “100 or more automatic friends.” The point behind the show is to entertain while raising funds to help pay for all those costumes, lights, music stands and bus trips to competitions, so that this year’s class can compete with all the other high schools.
You don’t have to have gone to Burroughs to feel that special feeling. Just hearing the students’ wild cheers as their former classmates came up to the microphone could pitch you back to a time where everything was passion, and everything was possible.
If you thought that no real high school students could produce a show the likes of the film “High School Musical,” think again.
Director/performer Angel Rogero-Ricciardi (Class of 1993) backs up some top-notch alum talent with the kind of special effects and set changes (courtesy of production and lighting designer Phil Shearer, 1988) that you usually have to go to Universal Studios to enjoy.
The show’s format was something like a longer version of “American Idol,” sprinkled with some hot, huge dance numbers, each choreographed at different times by Jen Oundjian, Debbe Carrete, Corey Hidalgo, Jessica Garcia, Stella Nguyen (2006), Andrew Orbison, Caitlin Ary, Katy-Beth Benedict, Laura Dobbin and Sarah Lowe.
Soloists singing pop songs were followed by full-on rock bands. An aria was followed by an original comedy-music routine. A hilarious rendition of “Most Beautiful Girl” came courtesy of Paul Villanueva (2002) and Chase DeLuca (2001).
All performers showed courage, talent and dedication. Many, like Erin Imposimato Inatsugu (1996), Pablo Mena (1994), Roz Johnson Jackson (1994), Matthew Jordon Strauss (2002), Jess Rowland (1994), Maddy Brownfield (2006), Mary Balian Saghbararian (1997) and Laura Dobbin (1998), were so professional, it was clear that they ought to be getting paid whenever they go onstage, fundraisers excepted.
Minor criticisms include a more-than-three-hour running time that could easily have been cut to two hours, although no one under the age of 50 seemed to mind; and a sound system that at times overwhelmed the vocals.
“Isn’t this a great show?” asked my 11-year-old daughter, Marijane, just before intermission. There’s no reason to think the next show, performed by current students, will be any less spectacular. Or memorable. Or inspiring.
MARY BURKIN is a Burbank actress, playwright and mom.