Since its first iteration came out on The Disney Channel in 2006, High School Musical has ballooned into one of the entertainment giant’s surprise hit franchises, with strong recognition even after a long absence of new media. That’s about to change with a High School Musical series set for the Disney streaming service starting next year, but it’s weirdly different.
Entitled High School Musical: The Musical, the 10-episode series is set in the “real world” where the Disney franchise is just a Disney franchise, but it involves an East High School where students work to realize a production of the official High School Musical stage version. The problem is, there’s as much drama in real life as in the story.
With show-runner Oliver Goldstick (Pretty Little Liars) co-executively producing with Tim Federle (Blue Sky and Fox Animation’s Ferdinand), High School Musical: The Musical will center on these new principal characters.
- Ricky – mediocre class clown and boyfriend to Nini; when she breaks off with him to focus on their school production of High School Musical, he joins audition to win her back; to be portrayed by Joshua Bassett (Stuck in the Middle), see above; first role cast
- Nini – formerly a music choir member, she became a newly confident soloist after a stint in summer camp; but with that comes a new attitude that estranges her from Ricky; she also made a new boyfriend from summer camp; raised by two moms; the driving force (performer-wise) of the musical
- E.J. – Nini’s new boyfriend from summer camp, from a family of successful lawyers and a young entrepreneur in his own right; very entitled to Nini and anything concerning her, like the High School Musical production
- Ashlyn – E.J.’s cousin; is looking for purpose and direction, but hides it under an abrasive facade; avid horoscope reader
- Big Red – Ricky’s best friend; surprisingly affected by the Ricky-Nini breakup; finds a job backstage for the school presentation; aspiring wannabe garage band founder but never gets around to doing it
- Gina – Nini’s rival for the top spot in their High School Musical presentation; her ambition to hog the spotlight is born from a lifetime of acting and a stage mother to match
- Vikram – East High color guard captain and assigned student choreographer for their production of High School Musical; notable for treating the drama teacher like a colleague in the same age group; has an ear for professionalism but a hidden phobia of messing up
- Miss Jenn – if Miss Darbus existed in real life, she might be Miss Jenn; fled from a theatre career in NYC but keeps mum about why; sees musicals as the be-all and end-all of existence; a slave-driver like Darbus, but can be compassionate