The touring Broadway production of "High School Musical" makes its Iowa premiere next week, though if you’re under say 17, that’s probably old news.
Two years ago, it was just one among the 50-some made-for-TV movies the Disney Channel cranks out every year. It’s since become a sensation to the tween generation.
Ellen Harvey plays the drama teacher, Ms. Darbus, one of two adults in the cast. It’s a really great experience for me to get to work with younger people in that they see things differently," Harvey says, adding: "I think it also helps keep you young in the sense that you are around that kind of amazing energy."
Harvey says the musical has struck a real chord with kids across the U-S and it’s been translated into several foreign languages. "Kids these days, especially in high school, even in junior high school, they’re faced with a lot of stuff. It’s not easy being a kid these days. I feel like I had it lucky when I was younger. This is sending a great message of be yourself, follow your dreams, don’t let anybody pigeonhole you."
She says the allure of the show is clear, especially for children — whether they’re in Iowa or India. Harvey says: "There is a message resonating in this particular piece that the tweenage generation, and teenage, really identify with. They have embraced this and made it their own piece. It has just taken off incredibly."
While this is the nationally-touring Broadway production, there’s also an ice show. When "High School Musical 2" came out on the Disney Channel last year, it reportedly pulled the highest ratings for any cable T-V show in history. Of course, "High School Musical 3," a full-length movie, is in production now and should be in theaters this fall.
The six-day run for this stage production opens Tuesday at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines. For details, visit "www.civiccenter.org".