The upcoming High School Musical television series on Disney’s forthcoming streaming service, Disney+, has set its cast.
Production on the series, described as a reinvention, has kicked off in Salt Lake City. Called High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, the project has tapped Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, Kate Reinders, Sofia Wylie, Matt Cornett, Dara Reneé, Julia Lester, Frankie A. Rodriguez, Larry Saperstein and Mark St. Cyr to star.
The description: The 10-episode series picks up nearly 15 years after the original movie aired at the real-life location where it all began: East High. It follows a group of students as they countdown to the opening night of their school’s first-ever production of “High School Musical.” Showmances blossom; friendships are tested while new ones are made; rivalries flare and lives are changed forever as these young people discover the transformative power that only a high school drama club can provide. Brand-new songs and acoustic “rehearsal room” reinterpretations of songs from the original “High School Musical” provide the soundtrack for an unlikely group of theater kids who learn “we’re all in this together” when it comes to pulling off an against-all-odds opening night.
“The challenge we handed the creative team was Herculean. How do you recapture the joy and the magic of the original ‘High School Musical’ movie … and simultaneously reimagine it completely?” said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. “That’s like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded. And Tim and Oliver – and this amazingly talented and diverse cast and crew – have done exactly that!”
“We are truly excited about this extremely talented cast and the fresh and contemporary take on this globally-beloved franchise,” said Agnes Chu, senior vice president of content, Disney+. “From the music and dance to the characters and hilarious meta references, there is something here for fans of the originals, as well as people who are new to East High. It’s going to be an unforgettable viewing experience for Disney+ subscribers.”
Wylie, who also stars in Andi Mack on Disney Channel, will play Gina, “a recent transfer student and a diehard theater kid with as many skeletons in the closet as she has credits on her résumé. She is both ambitious and entitled, and dead set on showing Miss Jenn that she made a huge mistake in casting her as the understudy.”
Reneé, who starred in Disney Channel’s Freaky Friday remake and currently recurs on ABC’s Black-ish, will play Kourtney, Nini (Rodrigo)’s ride-or-die best friend who’s obsessed with makeup tutorials and feminism in equal measure. Kourtney works on the costume crew of “High School Musical,” pulling together runway-ready fashion on a high school budget.
St. Cyr, an alum of ABC Diversity Showcase who appeared in the film Marshall, will play Mr. Mazzara, “East High’s somewhat robotic S.T.E.M. teacher. His belief in preparing students for the future often leads him to butt heads with Miss Jenn (Reinders), who would rather sing about life than live in the real world.”
Oliver Goldstick is the series showrunner, and Tamra Davis (Empire) is directing the first three episodes.