A High School Musical 1973
A High School Musical 1973

Book, Music & Lyrics by Bob Walton

The Keen Era

Viewing the 70s from our vantage point today, it now seems like a very innocent time. While writing the show, I watched the TV shows I grew up on again; Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, Happy Days, Starsky and Hutch, Sonny and Cher, and movies such as Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Carrie. But I also like to reference THE BRADY BUNCH movies that were made in the mid 90s, because it’s fun to see how that family looks in comparison to how we live today. It was interesting to see how the kids in the show didn’t understand much of the references and jokes, but their parents in the audience did!

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!