High School Musical Mania On National Tour

Zac Efron And Vanessa Hudgens Embrace The Musical Genre, Looking Forward To HSM3 Film In 2008


Venessa Hudgens from High School Musical

With two ultra-popular Disney Channel movies, a touring stage production, an ice-show, a myriad of merchandise and Mattel games, top-selling soundtracks, DVDs, the High School Musical success story has not ended.

The break-into-song teenage romantic adventure will be turned into a feature film in 2008 says director-choreographer Kenny Ortega, who was at the helm of both High School Musical 1 and 2.

“We’re doing the next one for the big screen, bringing everybody back for their final year at East High and graduation,” reveals Ortega, who also noted that new characters would be introduced to add more fun to the mix of students.

The stars of the blockbuster Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman are all planning on coming back. They’re set to play out their senior year for High School Musical 3, although everyone has been busy with other projects thanks to HSM launching their careers.

Efron continued to embrace the musical genre with Hairspray (which is getting Oscar buzz), and has the remake of the wild dance saga Footloose on his slate of projects for the future.

Regarding taking on the lead in Footloose (originally played by Kevin Bacon in the 1984 film), he says, “It was an idea that was presented to me by some good friends. I watched the project again, and it’s iconic. I watch that role, and I see so much potential. And, of course, it’s got such amazing music. I think it’s an outstanding character, and it’s an honor to make that film again and sort of try to add my own little bit of flair to it.” Let’s hope it happens to introduce a whole new audience to movie musicals.

Vanessa Hudgens says she was very young when she discovered classic musicals, and started dancing and singing, moving towards a career in entertainment. “I think everyone with the cast started out doing musical theater. We all kind of had a knack for it and fell into it. We grew up watching musicals and grew up doing them. We all share a strong passion for acting, singing and dancing. It was just something we all just loved from the start,” she explains.

In Los Angeles an engagement of Disney’s High School Musical stage show opened at the Kodak Theater (where the Academy Awards are presented every year). The energetic production was presented by the same creative folks who put together the Broadway hits The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. It features a talented cast of singers and dancers, a live orchestra, and all the songs from the original soundtrack, plus two new songs written especially for the stage.

Commenting on the touring production, Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, notes, “Our stage version of this great property has been mounted as a direct response to overwhelming demand. As someone who has been passionate about theatre since I was a kid, I am thrilled that we are touring this remarkably popular title as a fully realized stage production, and most certainly introducing countless young people to the world of theatre for the very first time. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

Based on the 2006 Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel movie Disney’s High School Musical stage show will be touring more than 60 cities across the United States in the New Year. Go to www.highschoolmusicalontour.com for more information about the HSM national tour.

Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.