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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Pope John Players Present High School Musical: Recap

The Pope John Players put on two shows throughout each school year, and this year’s performance of Disney’s “High School Musical” was an amazing performance. With near sellout every night, the Players popped, locked, broke and jammed all the way through the one-hour performance as they now enter their competition season.

Disney’s “High School Musical” is about a high school junior basketball player who finds a passion in singing, but his teammates, dad and the entire school want him to be just the basketball guy, so they can win the state championship game. A girl who is classified as a “brainiac” transfers to the high school, and Troy falls in love with her.

Gabriella (sophomore Bella Metternich) helps her academic team win its championship, and Troy (senior Hudson Owens) wins his championship. Both are able to sing their callback.

It was a great way for the seniors to end their careers with the Pope John Players, but it isn’t the end of the line for them yet. On March 14th, the Players will compete at the Sussex County Art Festival at Sussex County Community College in Newton. Though they will not perform “High School Musical,” they will perform their fall performance of “Chess.” The Players are excited to enter competition season with a lot of promise to come.

The Players will also perform on April 24th at a regional competition in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and in June at a state competition. In past years, the Players have won Teen Arts at the Sussex County Arts Festival, and usually win Best Musical or Best Performance at Bucks County.

There were a lot of new faces in the Players during “High School Musical” because students that are athletes were needed for a certain scene. Though it could have been done by students that have been in the Players before, Jacquelyn Burt and her executive staff led by seniors Annya Wisinski, Anthony Bubba, Maura Elvin, Gabby Labrada and Spencer Randall wanted to bring in the new students to help give a new perspective for the cast.

Bubba and the executive staff are happy to pass on the tradition that the program has built over the past 20 years.

“I am very excited for the next executive staff because not only do they get to continue what has gone on for so long; when they heard their names, their excitement was felt by everyone in the gym,” said Bubba.

Owens was also new to the Players, and he quickly became a big part of the cast as a role model for the younger members of the cast.

“I definitely felt the pressure to deliver and meet people’s expectations, but everyone’s support allowed me to step up to the plate and do my best,” said Owens.

Elvin has used the experience that former executive staff members have shared with her to help build a fun and exciting program with her fellow executive members of this year.

“The legacy that this program leaves behind year in and year out is due to not only me and this year’s executive staff, but past and future ones,” said Elvin. “It was a great honor to be elected to the executive staff last year and passing it down means so much more to me than just a leadership position.”

The Players have already announced next year’s shows as they will perform “The Crucible” in early December 2023 and “Pippen” in late February 2024. Performances run from Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., the Senior Citizen show, through their closing show on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

The new executive staff led by sophomores Hannah Peterson, Anya Pucci, Metternich, Ben Nascimento and Quinn Muli is also very excited to learn from this year’s executive staff as they prepare to carry on the legacy of the Pope John Players.

Andrew Nowel, Contributing Sportswriter
Contributing Sportswriter

Currently enrolled at Canisius University in Buffalo, New York, Andrew Nowel is an up-and-coming journalist/photographer and broadcaster. He wrote sports' articles for his high school, Pope John XXIII Regional High School. Andrew has worked with Morris Sussex Sports in sports broadcasting and analyzes professional sports in his free time. Andrew and his friend Ryan have a podcast that talks about professional sports and Canisius Athletics. Andrew also runs his own website about Canisius Athletics. He strives to inform the people about local sports and the young athletes of our communities from Buffalo to New Jersey and everywhere.

Andrew has provided previous and remarkable sports stories and photographs for the Ridge View Echo since he was 16 and enrolled at Pope John High School.