This is the “Start of Something New.”
For its programming slate on the upcoming streaming service, Disney+, the Mouse House continues assembling its main cast for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. (No, that’s not a typo. There are a lot of semicolons.)
Disney previously cast Joshua Bassett as the Zac Efron equivalent to the series, which takes place nearly 15 years after the original movie aired, but now he’s joined by Olivia Rodrigo (Bizaardvark), Kate Reinders (Broadway’s Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Sofia Wylie (Andi Mack), Matt Cornett (Bella and the Bulldogs), Dara Renee’ (Freaky Friday), Julia Lester (Mom), Frankie Rodriguez (Modern Family), Larry Saperstein (Fan Girl), and Mark St. Cyr (Doomsday).
The reason the series title is essentially three subheads combined into one, it seems, is because in the universe of the series the characters are trying to put on High School Musical: The Musical as their big theater production.
Bassett plays Ricky, a “skate rat” junior auditioning to be the lead to prove himself to his ex-girlfriend, Nini (Rodrigo), who just got back from theater camp “after finding her voice, her confidence — and her new boyfriend.” Nini also has two moms, which makes us want to “Bop to the Top.”
Reinders joins as Miss Jenn, the “high-energy, low-reality drama teacher who believes musicals can save lives.” She’s often at odds with St. Cyr’s Mr. Mazzara, the kids’ S.T.E.M. teacher who’s all about preparing his students for the reality of the world.
Wylie plays Gina, an “ambitious and entitled” transfer student “with as many skeletons in the closet as she has credits on her résumé.” She’s not happy that she got placed as the understudy. Cornett’s E.J. is co-captain of the water polo team, senior class treasurer, a trust fund baby, and he’s eyeing the lead role in High School Musical: The Musical. Rounding out the remaining new additions are Renee as Nini’s feminist makeup-obsessed best friend Kourtney, Lester as E.J.’s Sara Bareilles-loving songwriter cousin Ashlyn, Rodriguez as the musical’s choreographer Carlos, and Saperstein as Ricky and Nini’s third-wheel friend Big Red.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will bring 10 episodes set at East High, where the franchise all began, with new songs and acoustic “rehearsal-room” interpretations of High School Musical numbers.
The series was developed by executive producer Tim Federle alongside showrunner and fellow EP Oliver Goldstick.
Production is currently underway, so these actors need to get their heads in the game.