New Disney+ series pays homage to the original “High School Musical”


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High School the Musical The Series provides a new and modern twist on the classic High School Musical.

As the newly anticipated Disney+ launched Nov. 12, Disney fans everywhere were very excited to hear about the new show that was going to air every Friday. The new show, called High School Musical The Musical: The Series is a modern adaptation of the original High School Musical. 

Consisting of 30-minute episodes, the show captures what it feels like to go to school at East High School, where the notoriously popular original High School Musical was filmed. 

The cast is trying to perform High School Musical the movie, but as a musical instead. As they prepare for opening night, they come across all the hardships of high school: new boyfriends, girlfriends, overwhelming family drama and overall the dramas and issues of high school. The series is a glimpse into high school life.

The show stars Joshua Bassett as Ricky; Sofia Wylie as Gina; Matt Cornett as EJ; Kate Reinders as Ms. Jenn, the theater teacher that is directing the musical; Larry Sapersteine as Ricky’s right hand man, Big Red; Olivia Rodrigo as Nini; Julia Lester as Ashlyn; Dara Renee as Kourtney; Mark St. Cyr as Mr. Mazzara; and Frankie A. Rodriguez as Carlos.  

The show includes ballads that speak to your heart, romances that will make your heart melt and plot points that make your mind get caught up in a twist. 

Wylie and Rodrigo are very familiar faces to the Disney screen. Both starred on two other Disney shows, Wylie on Andi Mack, and Rodrigo in Bizaardvark

The story holds together nicely, as each episode finishes with a cliffhanger that leaves you to question previous plot point.  Its captivating characters show how to balance home life, school life and theatre. The series, as any musical would have, includes new songs written and performed by the cast itself. Rodrigo helped write and produce the hit song “All I Want.”

While the show is captivating and immersive, I found that it has very minimal connections to the original movie itself. It has nothing to do with the movie, other than the fact that they are performing a musical based on the movie. 

Other than that, the show is very impressive, as some Disney fans, myself included, were scared it would be too cheesy or stereotypical in some ways, and only one character has a well known stereotype. Lester’s character, Ashlyn, is known as the “shy type.” Although she seems to break away from that through music and theatre, we can see she is uncomfortable around others.     

Each new episode includes powerful ballads of being lost and finding yourself after heartbreak, it connects to real high school life. This is now Disney’s second television show to includes an open and on screen LGBTQ+ relationship. The first show that started inculded an on screen gay relationship was Andi Mack. Nowadays, more and more Disney shows are including these types of relationships into their storylines. That is truly inspiring. 

The characters find themselves immersed in theater, and it helps them build the confidence they were missing. 

Fans of the original High School Musical will not be disappointed with this series.