If you grew up watching the Disney Channel circa 2006, chances are you witnessed the phenomenon that was High School Musical. It’s perhaps the most quintessential Disney flick, becoming a trilogy and launching the careers of stars such as Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. Not to mention, the songs are just too catchy for fans to forget! If you weren't up to date, soon the musical will be revived on the upcoming streaming service Disney+ with High School: The Musical – The Series, and a new generation of teens will be at the center. Luckily, the have connections to the original.
The series is an Office-esque comedy musical about a production of High School Musical happening at East High, the same campus the original movie was filmed. During the recent Disney+ press day in Los Angeles, I sat down with the fresh-faced cast to discuss their own memories of the Disney Channel movies. Intriguingly enough, they all had specific connections to High School Musical long before nabbing roles on the series. Take a look:
Pretty amazing, right? To start, Olivia Rodrigo talked about the cute High School Muscial lunch box she’d carry around as a kid. The 16-year-old actress plays Nini, a character at the center of both theater drama and high school drama. Amidst being cast as Gabriella in the production, her ex-boyfriend Ricky (Joshua Bassett) is cast as Troy in an attempt to win her back. Her new man E.J. (Matt Cornett) is sidelined to the role of Chad. Not to mention she’s on the bad side of transfer student Gina (Sofia Wylie) for taking the leading part she wanted.
Joshua Bassett then told us about the time he was in a production of High School Musical as a kid too! What are the chances? Especially considering this show is about the making of a production of High School Musical. It’s quite self-aware. The actor was already ready to bust out his “We’re All In This Together” dance moves too!
Strangely enough, Sofia Wylie won tickets the High School Musical 3 premiere in Los Angeles back in 2008. The last film was the only of the three to get a theatrical release and she was flown to Los Angeles to be a part of the celebration of the movie and even met tons of Disney Channel stars. It’s -- of course -- Matt Cornett’s story that really wins this question, since he had a High School Musical-themed singing toothbrush! He literally had daily preparation going ahead of his biggest role yet!
The 10-episode series is one of much exclusive television coming to Disney+ on launch day, such as the well-reviewed Star Wars series The Mandalorian and The World According to Jeff Goldblum. The first episode of High School Musical: The Musical – The Series will actually premiere first on ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform on November 8, ahead of its availability on the platform November 12. The show has already been renewed for a second season, too, so don't fret about it getting cancelled.