A High School Musical 1973
A High School Musical 1973

Book, Music & Lyrics by Bob Walton

The Gnarly Music

The music is mostly upbeat and fun, but can be a little challenging. Some of the ensemble vocals are tricky, and I tried to write and arrange the music so the band can really dig in and play. The band could be on stage, in appropriate clothing of the period - or in a pit. There is also a lot of opportunity for dance, as in GREASE or HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. Mostly it’s dancing while singing, as opposed to singing and then a dance section. There were so many dances from the 70s, and the show ends with a big line dance of The Hustle, hopefully involving the audience too!

The music is slightly ahead of it’s time. Disco didn’t really start showing up until the mid to late 70s, but Generic High School is ahead of it’s time in many ways! Aside from the Bee Gees, I listened to a lot of Tower Of Power, Steely Dan, as well as Elton, Carol King, and yes, Barry Manilow.

It is scored for:

  • Keys 1
  • Keys 2
  • Drums
  • Percussion
  • Bass
  • Guitar
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Tenor Sax

It could be done without the horns - but the more sound the better!! Because the music is rock and roll-ish, mics for the actors are almost a necessity. We’re used to hearing these kind of tunes on the radio, or our 8 Track Players. Rehearsal tracks can be made available if needed.

The Outtasight Roles

The characters in the show are all pretty recognizable stereotypes, with perhaps the exception of Leroy Brown, Jr. While I did originally envision the role as an African American, I feel he should be very unthreatening, comically so. We, the audience, know he is totally overacting his tough guy role, it’s the gossip and rumors that make him seem scary to these overly innocent kids. Another good comparison might be the role of The Fonz in Happy Days. Everybody was scared of him, but he almost never did anything bad. At heart, Leroy is just a misunderstood kid who LOVES musicals! All the featured roles allow kids to come up with their own characters, and Adults can either be played by kids who are “acting” old...or they could be played by teachers from your school. Kids always enjoy seeing their teachers be the butt of jokes, but perhaps surprising them with hidden abilities and talents!

The Tubular Technical Elements

The set can be as simple or as detailed as budget allows. Since it all takes place in a school, most set pieces should be available fairly easily. I feel the more visually interesting the show can be, the better. Psychedelic lighting, the opportunity to incorporate projections, not only for specific moments noted in the script, but to show pictures of your high school from the 70s can be fun and embarrassing to teachers and parents!