This week, justArts spoke with Karina Wen ’20, who played Gabriella Montez, the lead role in “High School Musical,” the 24-Hour Musical this year.

justArts: How long have you been doing theater for?

Karina Wen: Since middle school, so [around] seven years.

JA: Do you like the show?

KW: I really enjoy the movies. I think the show is a really silly musical, but I’m glad that I’m getting the chance to do it once in my life!

JA: How did you react when you found out that you got the lead role?

KW: I was surprised! It had been a really exhausting week, but I was kind of already in this state of sleep deprivation where [I felt like] nothing could affect me. So I was surprised, but it’s been kind of a long wait, and [it’s been] really fun!

JA: So far, what has been the most tiring or challenging part of being in 24-Hour?

KW: I think [that] the choreography is kind of what gets me, because I don’t have to do a lot of it, but when I do, it’s like, “Okay, now I have to wrap my head around this,” where otherwise I can just read through my script.

JA: What has been your favorite part so far?

KW: I really like singing the songs, because they’re songs that I’ve known since I was [around] eight years old, and now I’m playing the characters!

JA: What is your favorite song from the musical?

KW: I like “When There Was Me and You,” which is the really sad ballad.

JA: What are you most looking forward to about being in the musical?

KW: I’m excited to [perform] the show [for] the audience — I think that will be really fun, to have them there with us.

JA: Do you think you’ll do 24-Hour again next year?

KW: Probably! It’s been fun so far!

JA: Are you in any other shows at Brandeis this semester?

KW: Yes! I’m going to be in Urinetown, which is the [Tympanium Euphorium] musical this semester, and I’m taking [a theater class].

JA: Do you feel like you relate to Gabriella as a character?

KW: Yeah; she’s sort of quiet, and doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing at her new school, which is pretty much me at this moment! So definitely!

JA: What part of the show are you most nervous for?

KW: I think, again, the choreography, because if you mess up, it looks really bad, whereas with lines in songs and [such], the audience knows you’ll mess up, so it’s okay!

—Lizzie Grossman