Bop, bop, bop. Bop to the top. Slip and slide and HSMTMTSTM that rhythm.
This past Friday night, the Black Theatre Ensemble kicked off this year’s performances with a parody of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series that was put together in just about 22 hours, making what was already a mouthful of a name (The show is called HSMTMTS. Really? Who was the genius who coined that jumble of letters?) a veritable bucketful—High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Musical. (Like: did you see HSMTMTSTM last night? No, I didn’t. I’m still trying to catch up with HSMTMTS.)
The show’s cast consisted of characters from HSM, characters from HSMTMTS, and the actors from HSMTMTS (my personal favorite was Sofia Kylie). Yes, this was confusing sometimes. Namely, there’s this big joke about whether or not Big Red (yes, the HSMTMTS character) is dating Julia Lester, the actress who plays his love interest in HSMTMTS, or Taylor, the Black baker from HSM. (If you saw every single HSM movie, enjoyed Season One of HSMTMTS, and suffered through most of season two as I did, you would’ve still been confused, but in a more fun way, I guess.)
Since the show opened and closed in one single performance, I feel as if a brief summary of the show is somewhat necessary. (I mean, I’m word-y, so I’ll try for brief). It’s not quite enough for me to say I enjoyed it (which I did), so the main points of the plot are as follows: Julia and Sofia, the incredible actresses from HSMTMTS who play Ashlyn and Gina, respectively, are producing a new show and searching for the perfect lead. Meanwhile, Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo’s relationship is on the rocks. (Joshua doesn’t understand the phrase “cool as a cucumber” and might not read—like he can, he just…doesn’t.) Olivia freaks out and turns to Big Red, whom she gaslights about his girlfriend even existing (see aforementioned Taylor/Julia Lester joke).
Ultimately, he doesn’t have any good advice for her. Naturally, this is when Joshua starts DM’ing Sabrina Carpenter in the middle of a grocery store. (I feel like I should censor Joshua Bassett. Should I?) While flirting with Sabrina, he sings a dirty version of “Bet On It” in the middle of a grocery store. A video clip of this leads stan Twitter to figure out that J****a and Sabrina were at the same grocery store at the same time…
Somewhat behind the scenes, Julia and Sofia figure out that Olivia Rodrigo is their key to money and fame. The pair attempts to comfort her over the rumors about J***** Ass-ett cheating, pushing her to sing “good 4 u.” Joshua has a little queer moment with Big Red (while also asking him for advice) and he and Olivia break up (it’s unrelated to the Big Red almost-kiss).
Finally, Sofia realizes Julia is the star of the show—they sing “I Don’t Dance” together and audience participation was strongly encouraged—and the love of her life all along. The show ends with an adorable moment between the new couple. (Again, yes, at times it was as difficult to keep track of as I’m making it seem right now, but keep in mind this was put together in less than a day.)
To say that I was excited for this show was an understatement. I, like all of us, have been deprived of live theatre and performances for far too long. The anticipation of waiting in the lobby, of getting my ticket, of finding my seat, was so welcomed. The question is, however, was this the best “first show back” CU could’ve had? This Bwogger says yes.
Watching something that a handful of talented people tossed together just to perform it one time was almost poetic. We are so eager to be back on stage, to be back in the classroom, and this feeling was palpable in this performance. While any musical that was written, staged, and directed in only a day wouldn’t feel perfect, this performance felt like hope. I felt as if I was watching the first run-through of something that was going to be spectacular (after they smoothed out some kinks). And, in a higher-level, metaphorical way, that’s exactly what this was. This was the run-through for the plethora of in-person performances that are “coming soon.”
Sure, HSMTMTSTM was just a student musical put on in a day—nothing more nor less extraordinary than that. But, it was also the start of something new. It feels so right to be here with you (dear reader). Ooh. And now, looking in your eyes (yes, YOU), I feel in my heart…the start of something new.
final bows via Bwog Staff