By Eric Erickson

“High School Musical” hits the stage

After a two-year hiatus caused by the global pandemic, Como students finally had the chance to shine on stage with three performances of Walt Disney’s “High School Musical.”

The March 18 evening debut drew a large audience that gave a standing ovation to the hard-working cast and crew. It was a joyful night with a nostalgic vibe as the students revived well-known songs and characters from their childhoods.

A matinée performance on Saturday, March 19, followed by an evening show resulted in a peak experience for both veteran and first-time theater participants.

Music director and producer Siri Keller said she appreciated the dedication of her performers and the community support for the play.

“I could tell from week one of rehearsals this was a special group of kids,” Keller said. “They really all loved each other and were there to put their best foot forward during the entirety of the process. All the stress and late nights were worth it seeing so many people turn out to support us.”

Prominent roles included junior Emerson Spencer who played Troy Bolton, and junior Ellen Chinema as Sharpay Evans.

Senior PaNra Lee starred as Gabriella Montez. Lee is a talented singer in the Comochoir, but this was her first opportunity to be part of a musical. 

“I feel like I really wanted to explode with energy,” Lee said. “With everything canceled and postponed during the pandemic, the chance to be on stage was a way for me and all of us to bring about some positivity.”

Cast members included Xee Lee, Cece Hawks, Liam Donegan, Mariatu Kanu, Thea Weiss, Lee Karan, Aine Johnson, Annaya Bonds, Sadia Hassan, Alisson Martinez, Tabitha Danielson, Ywa Hay Paw, Jonathan Newman, Roman Rivers, Pa Tshia Lee, Lily Mae, July Paw, Maria Brustenga and Chrissy Williams.

Crew members included Bean Bougie, Pariz Battee, Vi Eicher, Freddy Gray and M’Taleni Nashandi.

French field trip

Como students enrolled in French 2 and CIS French (College in the Schools co-enrollment course through the University of Minnesota) participated in a cultural immersion experience at Alliance Francaise de Minneapolis/St. Paul last month.

Workshops were led by instructors from France, Guadeloupe and Tunisia, followed by an authentic French lunch and a recreational game of French Scattergories.

The field trip was fully funded by the Nancy Solo-Taylor Scholarship Fund. Madame Solo-Taylor was a beloved French teacher at Como for over 30 years.

Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park Senior High School and a regular contributor to the Bugle.

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