High School Musical: Student production sells out big at East High School

Published: Saturday, Nov. 10 2007 12:11 a.m. MST

Annie Hollenhorst, left, Molly Wheeler, Ashley Shaw, Amber Gentry and Jocelyn King dance in their dressing room prior to a performance of "High School Musical" at East High. A few hours before the play starts each night, students offer tours of all the places where the Disney movie was filmed.

Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

They may only be $5 tickets, but they may be harder to come by than passes to last month's Hannah Montana concert that were going for hundreds of dollars.

After the play, "High School Musical," sold out this weekend at East High School, the school added an extra night, and the play is expected to gross $25,000 for the school — thanks to the cult following generated by the popular tween movie.

"Really it's been kind of amazing," said Martin Yablonovsky, the school's assistant principal, who said the play has achieved record sales and has even attracted out-of-state audience members.

But if you want more than just the play, East students have it.

A few hours before the play starts each night, students offer tours for visitors to check out all the places where the movie was filmed. They'll be taking donations.

After Disney filmed "High School Musical" at East High School more than two years ago, the school was on the map. Then, after they filmed a short stint at the school in "High School Musical II," the home of the Leopards became a hot spot for tourists.

This summer school leaders said between 40 to 50 people per day visited the school to roam the halls and stand in the very spots the movie was filmed.

This year school and student leaders decided to capitalize on the school's far-reaching fame, which was buoyed by an article in People magazine, by selling East High T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Assistant principal Martin Yablonovsky said the school's drama director, who has directed the "High School Musical" play before, saw the production as a "big opportunity."

Ticket sales would indicate he was right.

But school officials said even though the show is sold out, standby tickets could be available. Remaining performances are tonight, Monday and Tuesday. Also, "High School Musical on Ice" will be in Salt Lake City next week.

After the play, key actors take time out to pose with fans and audience members in various parts of the school for a small fee per picture.

Yablonovsky said proceeds will mostly go into the performing arts program, which also includes the dance company, choral groups and bands. It will greatly help the drama department build up wardrobe and props, Yablonovsky said.

Though Tuesday is the last night of the show's run, "High School Musical" fans will still be around.

Yablonovsky said even into the school year, a steady stream of visitors has been stopping by the school. "High School Musical III" is set to be filmed there this spring, so the fame will most likely continue.


E-mail: terickson@desnews.com

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