HSM turns 15 today—here's what the cast is up to
It seems like it was just yesterday when Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez met at a karaoke party for the first time—but it was actually 15 years ago! High School Musical was a surprisingly smash success when it was released by Disney Channel on January 20, 2006. Not only is it considered the most successful Disney Channel Original Movie *ever*, but it also paved the way for other musical DCOMs like Teen Beach Movie and Descendants. Plus, the film catapulted its six leads into the public eye. Read on to find out what your favorite HSM cast member is up to more than a decade after the flick that changed their lives—and ours.
Since HSM, Zac Efron has returned to his musical roots several times. Most recently, he starred opposite Zendaya in The Greatest Showman. And who can forget the time he played heartthrob Link Larkin in Hairspray? Efron's also done some voice acting, playing Fred Jones in Scoob!, an animated Scooby-Doo flick released in 2020. Fans will be very excited to hear that Efron's coming back to the Disney family with his role in a remake of Three Men and a Baby, a 1987 film featuring 3 guys who must learn to take care of a new baby. The flick is slated to release on Disney+ in 2022. When he's not acting, it's clear that Efron loves road trips and outdoor adventures. We're hoping some of them take place on a golf course for *all* the "Bet On It" vibes.
Like Efron, Vanessa Hudgens has stayed involved with musicals, playing Rizzo in Grease Live! and Maureen in Rent: Live. She also appeared in several holiday-themed Netflix films, including The Princess Switch, The Knight Before Christmas, andThe Princess Switch: Switched Again. Recently, Hudgens wrapped filming on the movie adaptation of Tick, Tick... Boom, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame. Plus, in December 2020, she hosted MTV's Movie and TV Awards: Greatest Of All Time show, which reflected on the best in entertainment since 1980. Now, Hudgens' dog Darla is an important part of her life—the pup even made an appearance in the HSM cast reunion on The Disney Family Singalong.
Besides playing queen bee Sharpay Evans in the HSM trilogy, Ashley Tisdale is best known for her roles on Disney Channel in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and Phineas and Ferb. In 2020, Tisdale reprised her role as Candace Flynn in the flick Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. She's also at the helm of her own production company, Blondie Girl Productions, with big sis Jennifer Tisdale. One of their most recent productions is the fun film Daphne & Velma about the Scooby-Doo leading ladies. The most exciting news? Tisdale and her husband Christopher French are expecting a baby girl in 2021!
You may remember Corbin Bleu as Troy's basketball-obsessed BFF Chad, but did you know he's also an *amazing* dancer? In recent years, Bleu showed off his tap-dancing skills on Broadway in classic musicals like Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical and Kiss Me, Kate. Plus, he starred opposite Dove Cameron in the Hollywood Bowl's production of Mamma Mia. Next, Bleu is expected to voice Cam Spinner in the upcoming Cars TV series for Disney+, based on the Disney-Pixar Cars franchise. But Bleu clearly doesn't stray too far from his HSM roots—he and his wife, Sasha Clements, planned a vacation in 2019 to the resort where HSM2 was filmed. We can't wait to see what else Bleu's career has in store.
If you've kept up with High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, you were probably very excited to spot Lucas in one of the episodes. But Grabeel has also done some acting outside of the HSM world. He played Laurie in the 2018 version of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, and voiced Julian Prescott in Spirit Riding Free and Jiku in Elena of Avalor. Besides HSM, though, Grabeel is probably best known for playing Toby Kennish in ABC Family's Switched at Birth. Now, Grabeel still sings, and has covered tunes like Billie Eilish's "When the Party's Over" on his Instagram account. He even teamed up with Ashley Tisdale for an acoustic version of "What I've Been Looking For" on YouTube.
Even though she's no longer playing Taylor McKessie, Coleman continues to connect to teens everywhere. In 2010, she was designated as the United Nation's first Youth Champion, a role that allowed her to travel around the world and speak to young people about challenges they faced in their countries. Most notably, Coleman founded Gimme Mo (@gimmemoyouth and @gimmemotalk), a movement that inspires youth to make a difference in the world. Gimme Mo also became a TV series, and Coleman was nominated for an Emmy for her role as host. Now, she is collaborating with We Are Warriors and other influencers for the January 2021 Dream Plan Challenge, a digital-led guide that encourages women to accomplish their goals and learn from each other.
Will you watch High School Musical today in honor of its 15th anniversary? Let us know @girlslifemag!
Slider Image: instagram.com/disneychannel