Four PMB teens in top 40 for SA’s ‘High School Musical’

2008-08-01 00:00

FOUR Pietermaritzburg-based teenagers will be in Disney’s spotlight as a worldwide first for the channel begins tonight with High School Musical: Spotlight South Africa. Mario Ogle, Zolani Shangase, Carl Ellis and Jarryd Nurden have all progressed to the top 40, having auditioned along with thousands of other young people in the nationwide auditions in June.

The scouting for the stage musical High School Musical: Live On Stage happens on TV, with winners given the roles for the stage musical. It is considered a massive opportunity for young performers who want to make a career in the musical and theatre industry.

The idea is based on the worldwide smash hit Disney original movie High School Musical. The stage musical will be staged around the world, but only in South Africa (so far) will the two lead roles, Troy and Gabriella, be cast in a reality show.

“My sister asked me to take her to the auditions in Durban at the Bat Centre,” said Carl Ellis (24).

“When I was standing in the line, the director of HSM came up to me with the camera crew and asked me whether I was auditioning. I said that I had just brought my sister to audition. He said to me ‘You should audition’, so I laughed and said ‘Okay I will’.”

Mario Ogle (19), from Harding, also wasn’t an ardent follower of HSM. “I’ll be real honest … I watched it on TV once prior to knowing about the competition, and then when I knew I was auditioning, I had to do my homework on it, so I hired them on DVD,” he said.

For Maritzburg College pupil Jarryd Nurden (16), auditioning was for the experience. Local audiences will know Nurden from his performances in Concert in the Park, Millenium Funk, The 70’s Show and the Hilton Arts Festival.

“I really love the musical,” he said. “I thought it would be exciting to see what a professional audition would be like. I wanted to do it as an experience, not thinking I would get as far as I have got.”

Viewers will be able to see how the locals compare to other talent around the province and the country in tonight’s broadcast on M-Net at 7 pm.

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