‘High School Musical’ Is the Most-Envied Participant of Its 10th Reunion

By Mark Walsh — January 20, 2016 2 min read
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Has it really been 10 years?

That is something said at a lot of 10th high school reunions. But it is truly hard to believe that Wednesday is the 10th anniversary of the debut of “High School Musical” on the Disney Channel. If the movie were to attend a high school reunion, it might snag the awards for “Traveled the Furthest Distance,” “Most Children,” and “Forever Young.”

“High School Musical” was a sleeper hit for Disney in 2006, prompting two sequels (one of which was released in theaters), millions of DVD and album sales, and a zillion sing-alongs at girls’ sleepover parties.

The charming film is about a high school basketball star, Troy (Zac Efron), and a math and science whiz, Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), who meet and sing together at a winter break talent show at a ski lodge before the brainiac improbably transfers to the same high school as the basketball star. They have to maneuver to be chosen for the high school “musicale” against the super-polished sister-and-brother entertainment team of Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and Ryan (Lucas Grabeel).

But why am I going on about the plot? Either you have already seen “High School Musical” at least 20 times, or you have vowed never to watch it. Anyway, the soundtrack and the Kenny Ortega choreography make all those repeated viewings a pleasure.

Here’s my favorite song from the movie, courtesy of the Disney Channel website (but note that it’s been documented that Efron did not do his own singing in the original movie):

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On Wednesday, the Disney Channel re-airs the movie with reunion segments featuring key cast members Hudgens, Tisdale, Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman. The missing link is Efron, who was busy promoting his latest film, “Dirty Grandpa” and releasing insensitive social media messages. (He appears via a short video message.)

The same cast members, again without Efron, appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Tuesday in this segment. (And, yes, ABC is owned by Disney, and this sort of promotional piece is typical morning-show fare.)

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The actors weren’t necessarily all the age of high school seniors in 2006, but suffice to say that they were, or will be, among the more successful and better-looking participants at their own 10th high school reunions.

Meanwhile, Hudgens will appear on Jan. 31 on Fox TV’s live performance of the musical “Grease.” She will play bad-girl Rizzo in the 2016 live remake of the hit 1978 film of the 1971 Broadway show about life in a 1950s American high school.

Since live musicals are all the rage on TV these days, I’m betting that it won’t take 30 or 40 years before some channel or other offers a live remake of “High School Musical.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.