High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

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High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
HSM The Musical The Series logo.png
Genre
Created byTim Federle
Based onThe High School Musical film series
by Peter Barsocchini
Starring
Composer(s)Gabriel Mann
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes1 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s)Salt Lake City
Camera setupSingle-camera
Production company(s)
DistributorDisney Media Distribution
Release
Original networkDisney+
Picture format
Original releaseNovember 8, 2019 (2019-11-08) –
present (present)
External links
Official website

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is an American mockumentary web television series created for Disney+ by Tim Federle, based on the High School Musical film series. The series is produced by Chorus Boy and Salty Pictures in association with Disney Channel, with Oliver Goldstick serving as showrunner for the first few episodes. He was succeeded by Federle as showrunner for the remainder of the first season.

Set at a fictionalized version of East High School, the school at which the original movie was filmed, the series follows a group of teenage theater enthusiasts who participate in a staging of High School Musical: The Musical as their school production. The series stars Olivia Rodrigo, Joshua Bassett, Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie, Larry Saperstein, Julia Lester, Dara Reneé, Frankie Rodriguez, Mark St. Cyr and Kate Reinders.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series premiered on Disney Channel, ABC and Freeform as a preview simulcast on November 8, 2019, ahead of its launch on Disney+ on November 12.[1] The first season will consist of 10 episodes. In October 2019, before the series debuted, Disney+ renewed the series for a second season. The series has received a positive response, with critical reviews highlighting the performances of the cast.

Premise[edit]

At a fictionalized version of East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the High School Musical movies were filmed, a former background cast member, Miss Jenn begins work as the new drama teacher. The teacher decides to stage a performance of High School Musical: The Musical for her first winter theater production, to celebrate the school's affiliation with the original film.[2][3]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Olivia Rodrigo as Nini Salazar-Roberts, a junior and musical theater enthusiast, who is cast as Gabriella Montez.
  • Joshua Bassett as Ricky Bowen, a junior and guitarist who previously dated Nini, cast as Troy Bolton despite his lack of interest in the musical.
  • Matt Cornett as E.J. Caswell, a senior jock-type theater enthusiast Nini previously met at theater camp, who is cast as Chad Danforth and the understudy for Troy.
  • Sofia Wylie as Gina Porter, a sophomore transfer student with theater ambitions, who is cast as Taylor McKessie and the understudy for Gabriella.
  • Larry Saperstein as Big Red, Ricky's best friend.
  • Julia Lester as Ashlyn Caswell, E.J.'s cousin and an aspiring songwriter, who is cast as Ms. Darbus.
  • Dara Reneé as Kourtney, Nini's best friend who is a self-proclaimed feminist.
  • Frankie Rodriguez as Carlos, the choreographer of the production.
  • Mark St. Cyr as Mr. Mazzara, East High's STEM teacher who is against the school's focus on the Arts.
  • Kate Reinders as Miss Jenn, East High's new drama teacher who appeared in the original High School Musical film as a background dancer.

Recurring[edit]

  • Joe Serafini as Seb Matthew-Smith, who is cast in the role of Sharpay Evans.
  • Alexis Nelis as Natalie Bagley, the stage manager for the production.
  • Nicole Sullivan and Michelle Noh as Carol and Dana, Nini's mothers.
  • Jeanne Sakata as Malou, Nini's grandmother.
  • Alex Quijano as Mike, Ricky's father, whose wife is estranged and currently living in Chicago.
  • Valente Rodriguez as Principal Gutierrez.

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected by [4]Written byOriginal release date
1"The Auditions"Tamra DavisTim FederleNovember 8, 2019 (2019-11-08)[a]
On her first day as the drama teacher at East High School, Miss Jenn announces that the school will be staging a production of High School Musical: The Musical. Nini is a regular participant in East High's school productions, typically as a chorus member, but on this occasion successfully auditions for the main role of Gabriella in the show with her rendition of "The Start of Something New". Ricky auditions for the role of Troy in an attempt to win his former girlfriend, Nini, back. However, Ricky returns to school from the summer to discover that Nini is now dating E.J., whom she met at theater camp.
2TBATamra DavisTBANovember 15, 2019 (2019-11-15)[5]
3TBATamra DavisTBANovember 22, 2019 (2019-11-22)[5]
  1. ^ The first episode premiered on ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform on November 8, 2019, serving as a simulcast preview before its release on Disney+ on November 12.[1]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On November 9, 2017, it was announced that Disney was developing a television series adaptation of their High School Musical film series created by Peter Barsocchini. The series was expected to premiere on Disney's then-unnamed upcoming streaming service.[6][7]

On May 30, 2018, it was reported that Tim Federle would serve as a writer and executive producer for the series.[8] On September 6, 2018, it was announced that Disney had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. Oliver Goldstick was expected to serve as an additional executive producer and Julie Ashton was set to oversee the casting process. Alongside this announcement, it was also revealed that the show would be of the mockumentary genre and a list of character names and descriptions was released.[2][9] On May 7, 2019, it was announced that Goldstick departed the series over "creative differences".[10] The series was produced in association with Disney Channel.[5][11]

In October 2019, ahead of the release of the first season, Disney+ renewed the series for a second season.[5] Federle stated that the second season's plot would not revolve around a production of High School Musical 2.[11][12][13]

Writing[edit]

Federle drew inspiration for the mockumentary style of the series from other films and programs such as Waiting for Guffman and The Office.[12] He was inspired to create a series which depicted music as a central theme, while also drawing on his experience as a former Broadway performer.[12][14]

The series is inclusive of LGBTQ representation, with two gay characters featured; Carlos and Seb.[15][16] In an interview with The Advocate, Rodriguez credited Federle for writing his character Carlos as gay without drawing on the tropes of a typical queer character.[15] Throughout the series, Seb is shown to play the role of Sharpay in the musical, an example of non-traditional gender casting.[15][16] The series also depicts same-sex parenting through Nini's two mothers; Carol and Dana.[15][16] In addition to this representation, the series also includes themes such as divorce.[17]

Casting[edit]

On October 17, 2018, it was announced that Joshua Bassett had been cast in a leading role.[18] The rest of the cast was announced on February 15, 2019, including Sofia Wylie as Gina, Kate Reinders as Miss Jenn, and Olivia Rodrigo as Nini.[19][20]

In November 2019, Federle confirmed that an unnamed cast member from the original film would make a cameo appearance through a fantasy sequence.[11][21] The track listing for the soundtrack noted Lucas Grabeel, who played Ryan Evans, as a featured artist in a song alongside Reinders.[22][23]

Filming[edit]

Production on the first season began on February 15, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and concluded on June 30.[4][24] Production on the second season is expected to start in early 2020.[5]

The mockumentary style of the series is achieved through the single-camera setup; with handheld cameras used to create shaky footage and zooming.[25] In addition, talking heads are utilized to allow characters to express their inner thoughts while talking to the camera.[25] These scenes represent the "present day" in the story, while flashbacks to Nini and Ricky's past relationship are filmed more traditionally.[25]

Music[edit]

The first season contains ten original songs, with one new piece of music featured in each episode; the majority of songs performed live by the actors.[12][26][27] Rodrigo wrote an original song for the series, "All I Want"; and co-wrote "Just for a Moment" with Bassett and music producer, Dan Book.[28][29] Federle stated that his original pitch included the idea to develop original songs for the series.[12] Steve Vincent, who worked on the original films, served as the musical supervisor for the series and sourced several composers to write new music.[12][26] He also received submissions from songwriters based in Los Angeles.[26]

Release[edit]

The first episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series was telecasted on Disney Channel, ABC and Freeform on November 8, 2019[1] ahead of its launch on the streaming service Disney+, in the United States on November 12, 2019,[30] in 4K HDR.[31] Episodes will be released weekly rather than all at once.[32] The first season finale will be distributed on January 10, 2020.[26]

Marketing[edit]

The first poster and trailer of the program were released on August 23, 2019 at the Disney+ Panel at D23 Expo 2019. The first episode was also screened alongside a panel discussion hosted by High School Musical cast member Corbin Bleu.[33]

Other media[edit]

The soundtrack for the series, featuring new songs and renditions of songs from the original film, will be released on 10 January 2020 by Walt Disney Records.[28] In the lead-up, selected tracks will be made available weekly to correlate with the episodes being distributed.[28]

Reception[edit]

Viewership[edit]

The preview simulcast of the first episode on November 8, 2019, was viewed by 474,000 on Disney Channel and 293,000 during its Freeform airing.[34]

Critical reception[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 75% approval rating for the first season with an average rating of 7.78/10, based on 24 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series resembles its predecessors a little too closely to truly be the start of something new-- though franchise fans may just find what they've been looking for in its nostalgic stylings".[35] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 65 out of 100 based on 13 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[36]

Vinnie Mancuso of Collider described the series as "endearingly tongue-in-cheek".[37] Kelly Lawler expressed that the series is a "love letter" to high school theater productions, in a review for USA Today.[38] Kendra Cleary of Hypable stated that the series captures the energy of the original movie, while introducing a relatable set of characters that aren't as stereotypical as Troy and Gabriella.[39] However, Caroline Framke of Variety suggested that some elements of the program are too similar to the original movie's "two-dimensional" approach.[40] Insider's Libby Torres said the series lacks the "infectious energy" of the original film, and found the premise jarring.[41] Mancuso objected to the mockumentary style of the series, noting that the format distracts from other humor in the episodes.[37] /Film's Ethan Anderton noted the technique as inorganic and unnecessary.[42] Conversely, Cleary listed the talking heads as one of her favourite aspect of the series.[39] Daniel Toy of Tom's Guide indicated how the techniques help to avoid unfamiliarity with characters.[43] In his Laughing Place blog, Alex Reif said the series was more aimed at adults than the original movies.[33] Joel Keller of Decider suggested that viewing of the series does not require an understanding of the original franchise.[44]

Shannon Miller of The A.V. Club praised the cast's talent, in particular Rodrigo and Bassett for their musical ability and "handling of dramatic material".[3] Writing for Decider, Kayla Cobb stated that the two leads have significant romantic chemistry.[45] Megan Peters of Comicbook.com prasied Rodrigo for her portrayal of Nini's "cautious" personality, and Keller described her as "especially magnetic".[44][46] Anderton also applauded the cast, and suggested that the series doesn't feature the same "exaggerated acting style" as the source material.[42] The show's choreography was commended, as well as Wylie for her dance capability.[3][45] Toy described Rodriguez's comedic timing as Carlos "impeccable".[43] Anderton, Peters and Framke likened Kate Reinders's performance as the "overzealous" Miss Jenn to Kristin Chenoweth.[40][42][46]

The series has been likened to Glee for its themes; and its combination of music and drama.[37][39][45] Framke described the series as a "sweet and very silly version of Glee", and Peters noted similarities through its "quick cuts and quips".[46][40] However, Miller stated that High School Musical uses music more as a literal than abstract element in the storyline.[3] Cleary noted that the series is not a musical in itself, and that the songs appear organically, depicted through auditions and rehearsals.[39]

Reviewing the music, Mancuso and Toy expressed interest in the program continuing to provide new songs in addition to the original movie's soundtrack.[37][43] Cleary praised the "vibrant and nostalgic" score.[39] Cobb commended the vocal abilities of the main cast, and described Rodrigo as "an especially pronounced talent" with a sweet and sincere voice.[45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Pedersen, Eric (October 11, 2019). "'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' First Episode To Air On ABC, Disney Channel & Freeform Ahead Of Disney+ Premiere". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Petski, Denise (September 6, 2018). "'High School Musical' TV Series Reveals Plot, Character Details". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Miller, Shannon (November 4, 2019). "The cast of Disney+'s High School Musical reboot are already stars". The A.V. Club. G/O Media. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Petski, Denise (February 15, 2019). "'High School Musical': Disney+ Sets Cast, Starts Production On Streaming Series Reboot". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 16, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e Petski, Denise (October 18, 2019). "'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series' Renewed For Season 2 By Disney+". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 18, 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  6. ^ Kate Stanhope; Natalie Jarvey (November 9, 2017). "'Star Wars' Live-Action TV Series to Launch on Disney Streaming Service". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  7. ^ Megan Vick (November 9, 2017). "Disney Is Planning High School Musical TV Show | TV Guide". TV Guide. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Joe Otterson (May 30, 2018). "'High School Musical' Series at Disney Streaming Service Enlists 'Ferdinand' Writer (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  9. ^ Lesley Goldberg (September 6, 2018). "'High School Musical' TV Series Details Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 7, 2019). "Disney+ Series 'Sulphur Springs' Becomes Disney Channel Pilot; 'High School Musical' Showrunner Exits". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Swift, Andy (November 8, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: Grade It! Plus, Find Out What to Expect From Season 1 (and Beyond)". TVLine. Retrieved November 10, 2019. At no point did anyone from Disney Channel or Disney+ tell me...
  12. ^ a b c d e f O'Keeffe, Kevin (November 7, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Creator Talks Inspiration, Punctuation and more". Primetimer. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  13. ^ Gibson, Kelsie (November 14, 2019). "The High School Musical Series Will Have a Second Season, but It Won't Be About HSM 2". PopSugar. Group Nine Media. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  14. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie (November 12, 2019). "What to Expect From Disney+ High School Musical: The Musical: The Series". Playbill. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d Reynolds, Daniel (November 11, 2019). "High School Musical (Finally!) Has an Out Gay Teen". The Advocate. Here Media. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Sorren, Martha (November 13, 2019). "Disney+'s High School Musical Show Finally Includes Out Gay Characters". Bustle. Bustle Digital Group. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  17. ^ Sartore-Bodo, Dina (November 12, 2019). "High School Musical Series Cast Talks Shocking Twists, Season 2, & Taking The Show On Tour". Hollywood Life. Penske Business Media. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  18. ^ Petski, Denise (October 17, 2018). "'High School Musical': Joshua Bassett To Star In Disney Streaming Series Reboot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  19. ^ Petski, Denise (February 15, 2019). "'High School Musical': Disney+ Sets Cast, Starts Production On Streaming Series Reboot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  20. ^ Harnick, Chris (February 15, 2019). "Meet the Cast of Disney's High School Musical: The Musical: The Series". E! News. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  21. ^ Wang, Jessica (November 8, 2019). "The High School Musical Series Will Feature An OG Cast Member Cameo". Bustle. Bustle Digital Group. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  22. ^ "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Original Soundtrack)". Apple Music. Apple Inc. November 1, 2019. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  23. ^ Sorren, Martha (November 13, 2019). "Who Is The HSM Alum Cameo On High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Going To Be?". Refinery. Retrieved November 14, 2019. The series' soundtrack contains a listing for Lucas Grabeel
  24. ^ Booth, Ali (July 2, 2019). "Olivia Rodrigo & Cast Wrap on 'HSM: The Musical' Series". Tiger Beat. Archived from the original on October 18, 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  25. ^ a b c Gunderson, Alexis (November 8, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Is a Slyly Self-Aware Work of Vertically Integrated Genius". Paste. Paste Media Group. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  26. ^ a b c d Weatherby, Taylor (November 11, 2019). "High School Musical Graduates: How the New Disney+ Series Pays Homage With Modern Twists". Billboard. Billboard-Hollywood Media Group. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  27. ^ "Disney+ to Release High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Soundtrack". BroadwayWorld. November 7, 2019. Retrieved November 9, 2019. Some of the musical numbers in the series are even performed live by the cast.
  28. ^ a b c Gans, Andrew (November 7, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Soundtrack, Out in January, to Feature HSM Classics and New Tunes". Playbill. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  29. ^ Sorren, Martha (November 13, 2019). "Olivia Rodrigo From High School Musical Wrote Her Own Songs For The Show". Bustle. Bustle Digital Group. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
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  33. ^ a b Reif, Alex (September 22, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series — First Impressions from D23 Expo". Laughing Place. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  34. ^ Salem, Mitch (November 11, 2019). "Top 150 Saturday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.8.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  35. ^ "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  36. ^ "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series - TV Show Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  37. ^ a b c d Mancuso, Vinnie (November 4, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Is a Clever, Tongue-in-Cheek Disney+ Ad Review". Collider. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  38. ^ Mancuso, Vinnie (November 11, 2019). "Disney+ review: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is nostalgia done right". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  39. ^ a b c d e Cleary, Kendra (November 4, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series review: This Disney+ series is soarin', flyin'". Hypable. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  40. ^ a b c Framke, Caroline (November 4, 2019). "TV Review: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney Plus". Variety. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  41. ^ Torres, Libby (November 8, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series lacks the charm and originality of the beloved Disney Channel film". Insider. Insider Inc. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  42. ^ a b c Anderton, Ethan (November 4, 2019). "Disney+ Original Shows Reviews: How is the Streaming Services' First Wave of Programming?". /Film. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  43. ^ a b c Toy, Daniel (November 4, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Review: Bet on This Disney Plus Delight". Tom's Guide. Future US. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  44. ^ a b Keller, Joel (November 8, 2019). "Stream It Or Skip It: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series On Disney+, A Super-Meta Tribute To The 'HSM' Franchise". Decider. New York Post. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  45. ^ a b c d Cobb, Kayla (November 5, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Is a Bonkers Delight". Decider. New York Post. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  46. ^ a b c Peters, Megan (November 4, 2019). "High School Musical: The Musical Review: The Series Has Its Head in the Game". Comicbook.com. Retrieved November 4, 2019.

External links[edit]