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The auditorium looked familiar, even to those who had never been there before.

After all, by now there is barely a teenager alive who hasn't seen the Disney Channel's "High School Musical," the smash hit filmed at Salt Lake City's East High School.

On Wednesday more than 1,000 teenage dancers hoping to get in on Round 2 of the "High School Musical" phenomenon crammed into East's auditorium to audition for roles in "High School Musical 2," which starts filming in Utah this summer.

Madi Lyman, a student at Churchill Junior High School in Holladay, isn't sure whether she'll "Bop to the Top" of the list.

Lyman currently dances for the studio Pulse 31 in Sandy, and though she is only 15, she has danced for a decade.

"[The audition] was fun, but I don't know if I'll make it. There were a lot of people," she said.

"Like 20,000," fellow Churchill student and dancer Maddy Christopher piped in, giving the number she said she was told will audition nationwide. While more than 1,000 have tried out in Salt Lake City, auditions are being held around the country for backup dancers.

Churchill is but a hop, skip and a pirouette away from East High, but others came from much farther.

The moms of Caitlin Ferrell, 13, Brityn Mykhail, 14, and Colton Stevens, 14, drove them in from Colorado.

"My son loves to dance. He dances 24/7," Robyn Stevens-Norton said as her son tried out.

Ferrell is technically too young to perform for the show, but director Kenny Ortega told the girls he may allow some of the younger ones in for the film's opening number.

Mykhail received a callback for another audition this morning, and was excited that her 30-second performance garnered attention from the judges. Auditioners had to learn five eight-counts of choreographed dance and come up with three eight-counts of their own freestyle moves, she said.

She's excited that she may have the chance to be in "High School Musical 2" because she "totally loves" the first one.

"Disney Channel didn't expect it to be this big, but it's just so easy for us to relate to," she said.

Stevens-Norton said the movie has helped her son "tell his peers what he loves to do."

"The movie is great, and the guy in it [Zac Efron] is really cute and good, which makes it easier for my son to dance," she said.

And the chance to dance in front of a worldwide audience was worth the drive, she said.

"This just really opens the door."


* SHEENA MCFARLAND can be contacted at or 801-257-8619.