Meet Mr. Popular

What was high school really like for the actors in High School Musical?


In August, not one, but two productions of High School Musical hit Chicago. Which made us wonder: what was high school really like for the actors? We dialed up the basketball-dribbling songbird Troy from the Disney version (at the LaSalle Theatre through September 2nd; for tickets, 312-902-1400) and from the Emerald City Theatre show (at Victory Gardens through August 11th; 773-871-3000). 

Actor Résumé Jock or Geek? Detention? Cafeteria Seat? Yearbook Picture?
Kevin Hoffman, 18, stars in Emerald City’s teen production. Twenty plays at Naperville Central High, from where he just graduated. Off to Millikin University in Decatur in fall “Everyone knows [that] jocks rule the school; theatre kids aren’t generally popular. So in the show I’m going to be the almost opposite of what I was in high school.” “Nope, not once, and I’m very proud of that. I’ve come close, though.” “The theatre table, but not senior year because we had off-campus lunch. My first semester, freshman year, I hung out with skateboarder kids, but then I met theatre kids.” “Oh my gosh! It was horrible. My chin is touching my chest, my whole face is stretched out; it doesn’t even look like me. I know it’s supposed to be a big deal. But it’s funny. I’d rather be funny than boring.”
John Jeffrey Martin, 28, stars in the Broadway in Chicago version. Broadway productions of Good Vibrations, Hairspray, and Rocky Horror. Studied musical theatre at Syracuse University “I was connected to all these different groups. I wasn’t a sports star but I played soccer, track, baseball, and basketball, and I was in theatre.” “I was usually very good. I never got detentions. I got in a fight in fifth grade once.” “Our table centered around heavy metal and rock ‘n’ roll. We had a nickname, Club 45, because my cousin lived at 45 Lake Road, and his mother, my aunt, let us all hang out there.” “I was wearing a blazer and tie and I had longer hair, down to my cheeks. It was parted in the middle.”

 

 

Photography: (Martin) Joan Marcus, (Hoffman) Lisao Predko


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