“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”

Season two of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” is making its way to Disney+, a paid streaming service, on May 14. The series, which made its debut in Nov. 2019, is picking up the storyline of East High’s theater group and their new production of “Beauty and The Beast,” alongside the challenges that occur while growing up.

The series, which stars actors Johsua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo as the characters Ricky and Nini respectively, is based on Disney’s movie series “High School Musical.”

Between the years of 2006 to 2008, three original movies were brought to Disney Channel and Walt Disney Pictures with actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, taking the audience through the struggles and important decisions that come with following your dreams.

“There’s something loveable, something relatable that everybody can feel. It’s also just really nostalgic, especially right now with all this uncertainty,” said Dr. Bindig Yousman, department chair in the School of Communication, Media and the Arts.

In the season two trailer, East High’s theater group finds themselves up against rival North High. While the stars of season one remain, actor Derek Hough will play the new role of North High’s drama teacher, Zack Roy. However, the rivalry between East and North High is nothing new and can be seen in the original movies.

“I have watched all three High School Musical movies prior to watching the Disney+ series. Although I enjoy the series, I prefer the movies,” said sophomore Alyson Garafolo. “I don’t think they should be compared because although they have a similar story, they’re not the same at all.”

In the original movie, Troy Bolton finds himself at a crossroads between his collegiate basketball dreams and a role in the school play. Years later, Bassett’s character, Ricky, copes with his parent’s divorce while preparing for East High’s production of “High School Musical.”

“I think that the new series is tapping back into the demographic that watched the original movies a little bit and trying to get them to buy Disney+, it’s comfort food, but it’s also something a little bit different,” said Bindig Yousman.

While the plot of the Disney+ series verges away from the original, many of the songs on the soundtrack can be found in both. This includes the classic “We’re All in This Together,” “Start of Something New,” and “Stick to The Status Quo.”

“I think that the soundtrack gives the series a larger following,” said Garafolo. “If people see that a sound they really like is from the show, they might be more drawn to the series.”

While a new soundtrack is expected to be released along with the upcoming season, it may not include all the same songs as the second installment of the original movie series.

Syndey Bucksbaum of Entertainment Weekly, reported in an interview with series creator Tim Federle saying, “Fans will have to wait and see what the balance will be of new versions of classic ‘HSM’ songs, ‘Beauty and Beast’ songs, and new original songs.”

However, music is of no shortage in the world of “High School Musical.” In 2021, both Rodrigo and Bassett have released pieces of their own. This includes Rodrigo’s hit single, “Driver’s License,” the prelude to her album “SOUR,” which is planned for release on May 21. Bassett’s self-titled album was released in March.

“If anything, these songs will only draw more people to the show,” said Bindig Yousman. “Disney is really good about pushing their stars on multiple platforms, to be a pop star as well as an actor.”

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