Granite Bay High School’s Prophetic Musical Centers on Life as a Teen and College Admissions

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GRANITE BAY — The whole point of Granite Bay High School’s musical, “Ranked,” is to shine an actual and figurative spotlight on what high school life can be like for the kids struggling through it today and how it might be different. The first words of this musical were actually written back in May of 2018. By the time it was all over, it turned out to be much more prophetic about college admissions and scandal than anyone could have ever imagined. The students’ message of competition, conflict and identity crises resonated with audiences who have now demanded an encore performance at the Crest Theatre. “We are very number focused and very label focused. And the intellectual curiosities that students have and that students feel are discouraged by bad numbers and bad labels,” said Anvita Gattani, who plays Jordan in “Ranked.” “You should be doing what you’re passionate about and not necessarily, like, filling out … doing what would make you look good on a college application,” said Chloe Boyan, who plays Alexis. If you just want to say “deal with it” to what may sound like idealistic teeny-bopper whining, the musical’s creators say hold on. “It was really important to us that the characters of our show were not caricatures of teenagers,” said co-creator Kyle Holmes, the high school’s director of theater arts. That’s why “Ranked’s” two hours of dialogue and 19 songs were crafted after hours of interviews with students. “The reality is that we do have kids that are making themselves sick because the pressure that’s put on them by the people in their life,” Holmes said. Many thought the “parents paying for grades” scenario that plays out on stage was a step too far when the musical was being workshopped. The song and dance of the national college admission scandal revealed nationally in March validated what they chose to portray. “We wrote the play to shed light on an issue that we felt mattered and then everyone else, by supporting it, shows that this matters to them too, which you can’t put a price tag on that,” said co-creator David Taylor Gomes. On Tuesday, a Bay Area high school bought a license to stage their own production of “Ranked” and University of California, Davis will perform the musical at its Ground and Field Festival in September. It will be directed by Broadway actress and director Mindy Cooper. You can get your seat for the one night only production of “Ranked” at the Crest for June 8. Hear more from the creators and actors of the new musical “Ranked,” staged this spring at Granite Bay High School:
First up, actresses and Granite Bay students Anvita Gattani and Chole Boyan discuss the feelings behind the campus climates they’ve experienced and how they feel those climates have contributed to all that was revealed in March during the national college admissions scandal. Kyle Holmes, the Granite Bay High School theater arts director and writer of “Ranked,” talks about how the musical developed and the very real toll he’s seen the pressure to be perfect take on students. David Taylor Gomes, the composer who created 19 songs for the show, shares some of the process of interviewing dozens of teens to inform his lyrics and the dialogue in the two-hour musical.

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