With the phenomenal success of The Disney Channel's High School Musical, they have now produced High School Musical 2 which will premiere Friday August 17. The film has been reproduced by high school drama departments around the country, and the network is jumping on the popularity with another show, High School Musical - The Music in You, which will follow high school kids as they get ready for their own production.
Recently Disney Channel executives and the cast of the film presented their new movie to television critics and answered questions about the film and the enormous success the original movie brought to them. There is no one who can doubt that it was wholeheartedly embraced by millions of tweens and teens around the country.
Gary Marsh (President of Entertainment at Disney Channel Worldwide)said, "For the last few months, the question that people have asked me most about High School Musical is, 'How can you top yourselves?' And the reality is, that's not how we approach this production at all. Our challenge to the filmmakers was not, how do we do it better, but how do we do it differently and still maintain what the essence of High School Musical. The question is, how do we evolve the relationships organically? How do we strengthen the relationships? How do we surprise the audience musically and choreographically? How do we explore new themes and retrace our steps from what we created already?"
Those questions are all answered on screen as the highly anticipated sequal finally makes its way to televisions all around the country. The budget for this film was bigger than for the original movie, but, as the execs at Disney said, it won't be as much as the next one. From that, you can deduce there will be more films down the road.
"In a nutshell, (High School Musical 2)is about how Sharpay, who is still licking her wounds from the humiliation she suffered at the East High winter musical, hatches a plan to reestablish her rightful place in the high school social order," Marsh disclosed. "And what that means is she's going to score the biggest prize of all, Troy Bolton. So she arranges to get Troy a summer job at the Lava Springs Country Club, which, not coincidentally, is owned and operated by Sharpay's family, and that way she can isolate Troy from his teammates, she can separate him from Gabriella and she can go in for the kill."
But things don't go according to Sharpay's plan as all of the wildcats get summer jobs at Lava Springs Country Club, where she sets out to get Troy's attention once and for all.
When asked how being in the phenomenal successful movie has changed their lives, Lucas Grabeel grinned and said, "People didn't stop me down the street and ask for a picture, just to meet them or something. Things change all the time in Hollywood, and 'High School Musical' has definitely given us something that, not only the Hollywood lifestyle, the fantasy aspect of what you can get from it, but just being able to have the opportunity to do a lot more things that we didn't do before. We've traveled the world. We performed in front of 65,000 people in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now, that's something I would never do if it weren't for 'High School '"10 things to do before you die' list."
But why was this film such a big success? Corbin Bleu surmises, "It's something that there's a magic to, that every single thing that's done in the name of 'High School Musical' always seems to be able to create some phenomenon, whether it's the original movie, the fact that there's millions of productions across the country that are doing it now, there's going to be an ice show. We went on tour all across the U.S., all over South America. Now all of our own careers separately are taking off, and we've been able to have so many different opportunities to just pursue our own careers. I think it's just an unexplainable connection and a feeling that was there on the first day of set when we got there. Obviously, you know, music is just a universal language that everybody is able to connect to, especially kids. The movie itself is such -- kids watch it, and they just feel like they're part of this whole other world, that they embrace and they really just want to be a part of and they really want it in their lives. It gives them a wonderful message."
"I think, also, it's really accessible," adds Monique Colman. "We live in a day and age where there's so much technology, and we have the ability to actually find out and meet people and have MySpace pages and have blogs and kids all over the world -- I mean millions of children voted for specific things to be in 'High School Musical 2,' which is wonderful, because it doesn't take away from the story in any way and what, obviously, our producers and writers and director created for us to go and do, but it enhances it. It makes them feel like they can be a part of it, they can be inside of it. It's just a wonderful combination of demand, wanting something, and then being able to play us, being able to step into our shoes and play us in a karaoke game or play us in a DVD game or play with our dolls or whatever. I think that every place that needed to be touched upon, we said, you know what, let's support literacy and have a line of books. Let's do a number of different things that are all-encompassing, and I think that that really helped to spread the message. It would just sort of be sad if we had this great film but we couldn't get it to the people."
So, what do the actors want to see in HSM 3? "This is the legacy that this group of Wildcats is going to leave East High. So I would like to see a senior year, a real senior year," Efron said, and the others agreed. A senior prom or graduation was something they all wanted for their characters.
But between now and the next film, the stars have other projects to keep them busy.
Zac Efron: I have a few projects that I'm looking at right now, just trying to find the right one with, selfishly, an exciting role that I would enjoy playing.
Vanessa Hudgens: I have the same exact answer.
Ashley Tisdale: I'm doing a project in August, relaunching my album, and just finishing up "Suite Life."
Lucas Grabeel: I'm shooting another film in Salt Lake City for a month. It's called "The Adventures of Food Boy." And after that, just, you know, my own projects that -- I'm going to start my own production company and make films myself.
Corbin Bleu: I I'm on tour right now with my album, "Another Side," and it's going great. I'm going to be touring all summer all the way through until about September, and then, after that, just other projects that are in the works, different scripts, different people I've been working with, and just sort of like them down there as well, just figuring out the next project to go through.
Monique Colman: The same. I'm with Zac. I feel like "High School Musical," this whole enterprise, was such an incredible opportunity that I think we are in a position to make really good choices and decide what kind of work we want to do now and what -- like, right now, I've been more involved with, like, charity kinds of things and
with things that have to do with what I want to say as a person. I'm thinking in lines of, like, books and tapes and, like, all kinds of other things that aren't necessarily acting-related but that are sort of personal and important to me. While I do have this moment that people recognize my name and face, I want to sort of take advantage of that while I can, and then, hopefully, other work will come from that.
High School Musical premieres Friday August 17 on The Disney Channel.