Full casting for the Hammersmith Apollo’s forthcoming production of High School Musical has been announced. Joining Letitia Dean as kooky school teacher Ms Darbus are Mark Evans and Claire-Marie Hall as the young lovers Troy and Gabriella, Norman Bowman as basketball coach and Troy’s father Coach Bolton, and Rebecca Faulkenberry and Michael Pickering as the theatrical, meddling siblings.
Bowman is no stranger to musicals with starring parts in UK tours of Pirates Of Penzance, Masterclass, West Side Story, Sunset Boulevard, Cats and Grease. He has also previously appeared in the West End in long running musical Les Misérables and Michael Grandage’s production of Guys And Dolls.
It was a case of life imitating art when casting for the role of the academic Gabriella, who secretly loves to sing. Hall herself turned her back on her dream of studying law at Oxbridge, instead pursuing her love of the stage. Making her West End debut as Cosette in Les Misé rables last year, Hall’s degree is now on hold.
This stage adaptation of the hit Disney Channel film, produced by Stage Entertainment, features a book by David Simpatico and includes the original film score along with two brand new numbers. The show will be directed by Jeff Calhoun, whose past credits include the Broadway revivals of Grease and Big River, and choreographed by the original US production’s choreographer Lisa Stevens.
High School Musical makes its London premiere on Saturday 5 July, after previews from 28 June. The occasion will be used to raise funds and awareness for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, which Disney has supported since 1939. Bill Taylor, CEO of Stage Entertainment UK and US, said “Having seen the reaction of children throughout the UK to the tour of High School Musical, it’s absolutely fitting that our premiere in London should support the work of an organisation that helps children from around the country.”