By: Sydney Phillips
When Disney unveiled that they were creating a streaming service, people had mixed opinions. Some believed that it was just a cynical attempt by Disney to make more money, since they already own a lot in the entertainment industry. Others, like myself, however, were excited to see what new Originals Disney+ was claiming to make. One of these originals was long debated even before its release, and that was High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
Photo Courtesy of D23
Many people expressed their frustration with Disney trying to make money off of an older franchise, and others constantly said that it would “never be as good as the original.” Once watching the show, I realized that was not the point of making this show; they aren’t trying to “remake” High School Musical, this is its own thing. Junior Skylar Shaffer agrees with this, saying, “I don’t really see it as an addition [to the franchise]. It has nothing to do with the characters Troy and Gabriella themselves.” This is where the story begins.
This series follows high schoolers who attend East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, which is the school where they filmed High School Musical. In the first episode, the theatre teacher, Miss Jenn, announces that the school will be putting on a production of High School Musical. This allows us to be introduced to our main characters, Ricky, played by Joshua Bassett, and Nini, played by Olivia Rodrigo. Other important characters that we follow throughout the show include Gina, EJ, Carlos, Big Red, Ashlyn, and Kourtney.
In the beginning, we find out that Ricky and Nini used to date, however they broke it off over the summer. During summer, Nini went to theatre camp and met EJ, and eventually, they began dating. Now, the characters are back at school, where Ricky sees EJ and Nini together, and gets jealous. Now, Ricky was never a theatre kid, however seeing them together made him want to impress Nini so he could get her back. And what better way to do this than to audition for the school’s production of High School Musical.
The first episode mainly introduces the characters to the viewers, and shows us the most important part: auditions for the musical. It is obvious that Ricky was trying out for Troy to win Nini back, however EJ was also trying out for Troy. Nini chose to tryout for Gabriella because her experience at the theatre camp somewhat helped her confidence, but Gina, the new multi-talented student, was also auditioning for Gabriella. Once auditions are over, the cast list was immediately posted, and Ricky and Nini were cast as Troy and Gabriella, while EJ and Gina were casted as Troy and Gabriella’s understudies.
The entire first season follows their process leading up to the performances. In this show, we see all of the obstacles that the characters have to face, some of which teenagers can relate to. “I like how they include real world problems that high school students go through daily,” said senior Sharnay Omesh.
Once viewing the show, anyone can see that they are not trying to remake High School Musical. This is in no way connected to the High School Musical plot, and although there have been several guest stars from the actual movies, I can safely say that this show is its own thing. There are original songs, one of which is called ‘All I want’ written and sung by Olivia Rodrigo, and this debuted on the Billboard Hot 100s charts in both the USA and Canada.
Overall, this is a wonderful show that many students, especially those in the performing arts, can relate to or take from in a positive way. I recommend watching this show, and giving it a chance, instead of saying no because of the title.