Here is something to make you feel old: Disney’s High School Musical is 10-years-old. To celebrate, Disney Channel will hold a special 10-year reunion on the network Wednesday, January 21 that will not only feature a re-airing of the original musical movie, but also the stars from the film (sans Zac Efron) will reminisce about the glory days.
Recently, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman, the stars of High School Musical, taped special segments in a Los Angeles high school gymnasium to be shown during commercial breaks of the movie. Noticeably absent was Zac Efron, but he did provide a pre-taped message to his HSM fans to be shown as well.
“High School Musical propelled Disney Channel Original Movies into a new era — one that was defined by more, well, music — and we aren’t mad at it,” said Kelly Connolly of Entertainment Weekly, who ranked the movie’s songs in a recent article online. “The catchy soundtrack turns cliches into a form of art, transforming the way we’d all hear, ‘We’re all in this together,’ ‘Get your head in the game,’ and ‘Stick to the status quo’ for years to come.”
The original High School Musical was a huge phenomenon when it first aired January 20, 2006. Over 7.7 million viewers tuned in for the made-for-TV movie giving, the Disney Channel its highest rating ever since it debuted in April of 1983. And that was just those viewers in the USA. That year, over 100 million unduplicated viewers watched the special worldwide.
Much of High School Musical’s success goes to director and choreographer Kenny Ortega, who also directed Disney’s Newsies and Hocus Pocus, numerous episodes of Gilmore Girls, and has begun to have similar success with the recent Disney Channel Descendants movie. Descendants 2 is already in the works. For his work on HSM, Ortega received a career achievement honor from the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, an Imagen Award, a Diversity Award from the Multicultural Motion Picture Association, an ALMA Award, and two Director’s Guild of America (DGA) Awards for the movie.
But is wasn’t just the kids who liked the show either. Critics liked the movie too. High School Musical received two Emmy Awards, the Television Critics Association Award, an Imagen Award (recognizing the positive portrayal of Latinos in entertainment media), a Billboard Music Award for Soundtrack of the Year, an American Music Award, and a Producer’s Guild of America Award.
With huge sales of soundtrack albums and two movie sequels, the movie not only help launch but propelled the careers of the six leading stars.
- Zac Efron has been in a string of successful comedy movies, including the most recent Dirty Grandpa with Robert DeNiro.
- Vanessa Hudgens made headlines for appearing in the movie Spring Breakers (2012), showed her acting chops for Gimme Shelter (2013), and will be appearing live for FOX’s presentation of Grease.
- Ashley Tisdale has done steady work voicing the character of Candace Flynn for the TV series Phineas and Ferb and has just completed voice work as Cinderella for the upcoming Charming.
- Lucas Grabeel went on to star in Switched at Birth from 2011-2015 while also lending his voice for Sheriff Callie’s Wild West and Family Guy.
- Corbin Bleu has found steady work guest starring in many TV shows, a steady role on One Life to Live, and competed on Dancing with the Stars.
- Monique Coleman was part of the cast of The Fourth Door and will appear in the upcoming comedy film We Are Family.
For Wednesday’s special, Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, said in a recent press release, “Seeing the cast of High School Musical back together again reaffirms what made it special 10 years ago. It’s their optimism, their dedication and their extraordinary talent—as a group—that made this such an exceptional movie and cultural phenomenon. Ten years later, the movie continues to delight audiences around the globe, not just for its memorable song and dance numbers, but for its universal themes that continue to resonate with fans everywhere – express yourself, believe in yourself and always follow your dreams.”
After the many initial airings of the movie and its sequels, Disney Theatrical Productions licensed the script for local student theater productions so that budding singers and thespians could live out their dreams as a High School Musical star in their hometowns.
In addition to tonight’s viewing, High School Musical will also appear on Freeform (formerly ABC Family) on Saturday, January 23 at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 24 at 2 p.m. High School Musical 2 will be shown on Disney Channel on Thursday, January 21 and Sunday, January 24, both at 8 p.m.
[Photo: Courtesy of Disney]