ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform will get an early peek behind the curtain at High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. The three Disney-owned nets will air the first episode on November 8, four days before it premieres as part of the launch of streaming service Disney+.
Created and executive-produced by Tim Federle, the first series adaptation of the High School Musical franchise introduces a group of drama students and faculty members at East High. Its 10 episodes count down from auditions to opening night of their school’s first production of High School Musical: The Musical. They have budding romances, faltering friendships and harsh rivalries as they experience the transformative power that only high school theater can provide.
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Here’s a look at the characters and actors: Ricky (Joshua Bassett) is a charismatic teen auditioning for the musical so he can win back the heart of ex-girlfriend Nini (Olivia Rodrigo), who has just returned from summer theater camp with a new boyfriend — and the same insecurities that keep her from owning the spotlight. Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) is East High’s supremely spirited drama teacher, who’s convinced that musicals can be lifesavers. Gina (Sofia Wylie) is a transfer student and diehard theater kid with plenty of secrets. E.J. (Matt Cornett) is Nini’s new beau from camp, who sees life as a competition and Ricky as his No. 1 foe. Kourtney (Dara Reneé) is Nini’s best friend, a fashionista equally obsessed with makeup tutorials and feminism. Ashlyn (Julia Lester) is E.J.’s cousin and an aspiring songwriter. Carlos (Frankie A. Rodriguez) is the student choreographer who already has memorized his Tony Awards speech, and Big Red (Larry Saperstein) is Ricky’s best friend, a dude who can best be described as a spiritual descendant of Bill and Ted. Mr. Mazzara (Mark St. Cyr) is East High’s by-the-book STEM teacher.
Federle also wrote the first episode, which was directed by Tamra Davis. Oliver Goldstick, Davis and High School Musical EPs Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush also serve as executive producers of the first episode.
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