GMS Theatre Workshop brings Wildcats of East High to life


By Dawn Hatfield

GREENVILLE — Greenville Middle School’s production of Disney’s “High School Musical JR.” ©Disney, based on the movie written by Peter Barsocchini and book by David Simpatico, drew audiences to St. Clair Memorial Hall for three fantastic performances last weekend.

With songs by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil; Ray Cham, Greg Cham, and Andrew Seeley; Randy Petersen and Kevin Quinn; Andy Dodd and Adam Watts; Bryan Louiselle; David N. Lawrence and Faye Greenberg; and Jamie Houston and music adapted, arranged, and produced by Bryan Louiselle, this GMS student-led production had the audience humming along to infectious tunes and creative choreography from start to finish.

Director Kari Thompson joined the cast and crew on stage following their final performance. She spoke to the 38-year-long history of live theater at Greenville City Schools. In humble fashion, she credited the show’s success to the students and her assistants although the amount of work Thompson does herself is immeasurable.

Thompson said, “This group never ceases to amaze. We had a really rough time getting into [Memorial Hall] this week. We had one day to set up the stage, and they never had a run-through until Friday night [opening night], and I don’t think you could tell. Full lights and sound were student-run, and we are one of the only groups that does that. Choreographers, thank you so much; they are all Wavaires and were [previously] my students. We had a new addition this year; Michelle Drees helped us with music. It was amazing! And, of course, my assistant directors, Nic Colby and Mariah Edwards, I thank them so much! Thank you all so much for coming tonight and supporting these kids and live theater. We really appreciate it; we appreciate you.”

CAST (in order of appearance):

Jordyn McMullen as Drum Major; Brooklyn Crampton as Jack Scott; Jack Gathard as Chad Danforth; Colten Vanskyock as Zeke Baylor; Grant Fisher as Troy Bolton; Meadow Murphy as Sharpay Evans; Shane Gilman as Ryan Evans; Emily McLear as Gabriella Montez; Reese Stewart as Taylor McKessie; Marcella Marlett as Martha Cox; Hallie Riethman as Kratnoff; Bella Enicks as Ms. Darbus; Elijah Wombolt as Coach Bolton; Ariel Riley as Ms. Tenny; Sienna Gilman as Kelsi Nielsen; Parker Francis as James; Maris Trissel as Susan; Iola Bertsch as Cathy; Gabriella Browning as Cyndra; and Mercedes Angles as Moderator.

Students of East High:

“Jocks” played by Jordyn McMullen, Iola Bertsch, Mercedes Angles, Micah Angles, Lauren Holzapfel, Alex Elliott, and Haylee Fisher

“Brainiacs” played by Hallie Riethman, Lilly Daigle, Ashlynn Flatter, Kylie McDonald, Amelia Zimmer, Parker Francis, Maris Trissel, and Iola Bertsch

“Thespians” played by Ariel Riley, Haylee Fisher, Paityn Lehr, Garbriella Browning, Maris Trissel, Iola Bertsch, Parker Francis, Micah Angles, and Parker Francis


Kari Thompson—Director; Nic Colby and Mariah Edwards—Assistant Directors; Michelle Drees—Music Director; Alexis Bertsch, Ryan Bolin, Sierra Brumbaugh, Aleiha Fenton, and Addyson Gathard—Choreographers; Ron Asman—Adult Lighting Designer; Ivy Neal—Junior Lighting Designer; Allison Bolin—Student Director; Graycee Shuttleworth and Adrianna Vanskyock—Crew Stage Managers; Nili Rami—Junior Stage Manager and Props Master; Hannah Bailey and Shyann Kopplin—Sound Designers; Nick Poling—Videographer; and Claire Miller-Castaño and Katie Bradford—Stage Crew

GMS Theatre Workshop was founded by Grace Kensinger and Marty Davis in 1985. The workshop organization, now directed by Kari Thompson, is made up of students in grades five through eight, attending Greenville Middle, St. Mary’s, and Montessori Schools in Greenville.

Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.

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