FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) – If given the chance, would you go back to high school? That’s what a group did from Gibraltar High School in Door County… but just for a week.
Oh, and they also had to recreate a musical they did, in just five days, and it was all filmed for a reality show.
The show is “Encore!” The premise, to reunite casts from across the country who performed in their high school musical 10, 20, even 40 years earlier and give them a chance to perform together one more time.
The cast from Door County has an interesting story from their 2007 production of “High School Musical”. One week to opening night, Allison Pfeifer, who was cast in the lead role of Gabriella, had a softball injury and could not perform.
The director pulled an ensemble cast member, Kayla Schleicher, into the lead role to get everything down in less than a week.
Of her 2007 experience, Kayla says the easy part was leaning on her strong dance background and the fact that in 2007 she was “obsessed” with “High School Musical” so she basically knew the show by heart.
Luckily the theatre production mirrors the movie version. Alternatively, she admits it was actually terrifying to deal with that kind of pressure at such a young age. “For about 12 years, I pretty much blocked it out.” she says.
What was it like to dive head first back into a production with which, she had a bit of a traumatic experience? Fighting back tears Kayla admits it was healing for her. Back in 2007 she had, “…a lot of tears, stress, and a lot of pressure…” put on herself because she didn’t want to let everyone down. The upside is she learned a lot about herself and what she was capable of doing.
This time around, they were asked to re-audition for their roles. Allison, the original Gabriella was also auditioning. Kayla was happy to be cast in her original ensemble role, which is where she prefers to be. In the 2019 production, she was able to really enjoy her time. She was cast as Martha Cox, a Brainiac who secretly loves to dance.
Devin Thomas, a Fifth-grade teacher at Gibraltar Elementary, was cast as Troy Bolton in both productions. He says the most challenging part was a coupling of the exercises the production crew put them through which brought up the vulnerability of being back in high school.
Katie Helscher, reprised her role as Sharpay Evans, says working with the professional crew was a once in a lifetime experience.
She was also proud to be able to show off her hometown of Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Most of the episodes were shot in large cities or suburbs of large cities so Fish Creek was quite special. “It was cool to show off home to them and to show the world what Door County is.”
“Encore!” is streaming now on Disney+ with new episodes airing every Friday.