High School Musical
High School Musical

Original Release:

January 20, 2006

Written By:

Peter Barsocchini

Directed By:

Kenny Ortega


Don Schain

Production Company(s):

First Street Films
Salty Pictures


Disney-ABC Domestic Television

Original Network:

Disney Channel

Followed By:

High School Musical 2

High School Musical, which first aired January 20, 2006 is a Disney Channel Original Movie centering around the Albuquerque, New Mexico fictional East High School and their students. Filmed on location in Salt Lake City at the real East High School and Ogden, Utah, the movie (and their first two filmed sequels) are directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega, who also worked on Disney's Newsies and Hocus Pocus. Since the movie's original premiere, it has become one of the centerpieces of Disney's "tween" (mostly girls between six and thirteen years old) marketing, with the original soundtrack and DVD versions having gone multiple platinum. Two sequels and one spin-off have been made due to the success of the film, with High School Musical 2 and High School Musical 3: Senior Year being released to positive reviews, and Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure to moderate reviews.


On New Year's Eve, juniors Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez meet at a party while both teens are at a ski lodge during winter break. At the party, the two are called upon to sing karaoke together ("Start of Something New"). They find that they have a connection and decide to exchange numbers before going their separate ways.

One week after Christmas break, Troy sees Gabriella in his homeroom, and she explains that she just moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and transferred to East High School over break. Troy shows Gabriella around the school, and they pause in front of the sign-up sheet for the winter musical auditions. Drama Club president Sharpay Evans arrives, assuming that Gabriella is interested in auditioning. Wanting to eliminate the competition, Sharpay investigates the new girl and has the scholastic decathlon captain, Taylor McKessie, find out about Gabriella's past academic achievements, resulting with Taylor and Gabriella becoming great friends.

During basketball practice, Troy has trouble focusing because his thoughts are on Gabriella and the idea that he might enjoy singing more than basketball ("Get'cha Head in the Game"). Gabriella and Troy go to the musical auditions where Sharpay and her twin brother Ryan Evans perform ("What I've Been Looking For"), but both are too shy to audition. When Gabriella finally gains the confidence to step forward, Troy offers to sing with her, but Ms. Darbus tells them that they are too late. After Ms. Darbus attempts to leave, Kelsi Nielsen, the musical's composer, trips and drops her items. Troy and Gabriella rush to help her, and they sing together as Kelsi plays piano ("What I've Been Looking For (Reprise)"). Ms. Darbus overhears them and gives them a callback audition.

When the callback list is posted, Sharpay discovers that she has competition for the lead in the musical, and the rest of the Wildcats are shocked that Troy and Gabriella have auditioned. Other students confess their own secret passions and talents ("Stick to the Status Quo"), alarming both Taylor and Troy's best friend Chad Danforth. Since Gabriella has agreed to join the scholastic decathlon team, both Taylor and Chad want their teammates to focus on their upcoming competitions rather than the musical. Troy is then tricked into saying that Gabriella is not important while she watches through a wi-fi link that the scholastic decathlon team had set up. Gabriella gets extremely upset by his betrayal ("When There Was Me and You") and decides not to audition for the musical.

Troy is left confused as to why Gabriella did not want to audition anymore. Realising their mistake, Chad and the basketball team tell Troy what happened and offer to support him in callbacks. Troy goes to Gabriella's house and they reconcile.

After overhearing Gabriella and Troy practicing, Sharpay has Ms. Darbus change the callback time to coincide with both the basketball championship and the scholastic decathlon to interfere with Gabriella and Troy's participation. Kelsi overhears the conversation and the basketball team and the decathlon teamwork together to come up with a plan. On the day of the competitions, Taylor and Gabriella use the school's computers to delay the championship and the decathlon. Troy and Gabriella rush to the auditorium, and Sharpay and Ryan finish performing their songs ("Bop to the Top"), confident that their plan worked. After Gabriella and Troy audition ("Breaking Free"), Ms. Darbus gives the two the lead roles, making Sharpay and Ryan understudies.

Troy and Gabriella both win their respective competitions, and the entire school gathers in the gym to celebrate ("We're All In This Together"). Chad asks Taylor out, and Sharpay makes peace with Gabriella.

In a post-credits scene, Zeke Baylor paces alone in the gym as Sharpay runs in declaring the cookies she rejected from him earlier "genius". She then hugs him and he says he will make her a creme brulee.


See Also: List of High School Musical Characters

  • Zac Efron as Troy Bolton - The most popular male student at East High School, and the captain of the varsity basketball team. On New Year's Eve, after singing with Gabriella, he finds himself having a crush on her.
  • Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella Montez - A new student and one of the brainiacs on the scholastic decathlon team. She develops a love for Troy after meeting at a New Years party.
  • Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay Evans - An energetic and proud student with a love of theatre. Enjoys being the centre of attention, particularly Troy's.
  • Lucas Grabeel as Ryan Evans - Sharpay's twin brother. He is very easily pushed around by his sister, but is not as mean as her, despite going along with her plans to sabotage Troy and Gabriella. He is also shown to not be particularly smart, such as not knowing how to spell "drama", and never understanding Sharpay's plans.
  • Corbin Bleu as Chad Danforth - Troy's best friend, and is very good friends with Jason Cross and Zeke. He likes the status quo, but later ends up dating Decathlon captain Taylor.
  • Monique Coleman as Taylor McKessie - Gabriella's best friend and Chad's love interest. She is captain of the school's decathlon team, and despises the basketball players and cheerleaders, believing them to be airheads, although she later ends up going out with Chad.
  • Bart Johnson as Jack Bolton - Troy's father and the coach of the basketball team. He has a mutual dislike with Ms. Darbus, thinks that theatre is worthless, and also believes that Gabriella is a distraction to Troy's basketball career. However, he eventually comes around to it.
  • Alyson Reed as Ms. Darbus - The stern drama teacher at East High. She despises sport and cell phones but takes her job very seriously.
  • Olesya Rulin as Kelsi Nielsen - A student at East High. She is a pianist and composer. She is very shy and is constantly bossed around by Sharpay, but in the end she learns to stand up for herself and not get bossed around by Sharpay.
  • Chris Warren, Jr. as Zeke Baylor - A friend of Troy and Chad, and plays for the basketball team. He also enjoys baking and is an admirer of Sharpay.
  • Ryne Sanborn as Jason Cross - A friend of Troy and Chad, and plays for the basketball team. He also tends to ask mundane questions in class.
  • Kaycee Stroh as Martha Cox - A preppy brainiac who enjoys hip-hop. She is good friends with Gabriella, Taylor and Kelsi.


See Also: High School Musical (Soundtrack)

The soundtrack was released on January 10, 2006 and debuted at number 133 on the Billboard 200, selling 7,469 copies in its first week. In the album's third week, for the chart dated February 11, 2006, it climbed to number ten, and has since risen to number one on the Billboard 200 twice (on March 1 and March 22) and had shipped 3.8 million copies on December 5, 2006. Out of those copies, more than 3 million copies have been sold by August 2006; it was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA.

Song Primary Singer(s) Other Singers Scene
"Start of Something New" Zac Efron/Drew Seeley and Vanessa Hudgens None Mountain Ski Resort
"Get'cha Head in the Game" Drew Seeley Basketball Players East High School's Gym
"What I've Been Looking For" Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel None East High's Auditorium/Auditions
"What I've Been Looking For (Reprise)" Drew Seeley and Vanessa Hudgens Olesya Rulin East High's Auditorium/Auditions
"Stick to the Status Quo" Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Chris Warren Jr., Kaycee Stroh and Ryan Templeman Jocks, Brainiacs, Skater Dudes and Wildcats East High's Cafeteria
"When There Was Me and You " Vanessa Hudgens None East High's Science Lab, Hallways and Corridors
"Start of Something New (Reprise)" Zac Efron None Gabriella's Balcony
"Bop to the Top" Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel None East High's Auditorium/Callbacks
"Breaking Free" Zac Efron/Drew Seeley and Vanessa Hudgens Olesya Rulin East High's Auditorium/Callbacks
"We're All in This Together" Drew Seeley, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman Wildcats, Brainiacs and Skater Dudes East High's Gym


On its premiere, the film was a success with 7.7 million viewers. However, the reviews were mixed. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 56%, while Common Sense Media rated it at 4/5 stars.

Critical Response

Kevin Carr gave the film a score of 3/5 saying, "The filmmakers were just trying to tell a story. Sex, drugs and violence just didn't factor into that equation." On the other hand, David Nusair gave the film a negative review with a score of 1.5/4 saying, "'s difficult to imagine even the most die-hard fan of musicals finding anything here worth embracing." Scott Weinberg also gave the film a negative review saying, "A schmaltzy little piece of obvious fluff that's directed in truly horrendous fashion and populated by cardboard characters who spit out simplistic and breathy pop tunes."

Home Media

The DVD was released on May 23, 2006 under the title, High School Musical: Encore Edition. It created a sales record when 1.2 million copies were sold in its first six days, making it the fastest-selling television film of all time. It is, however, the second DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) on DVD to be certified Platinum in DVD sales, the first being The Cheetah Girls. The High School Musical DVD was also released in Australia on July 12, 2006 through Walt Disney and was released on European Region 2 on December 4, 2006 where it went on to reach number one in the UK DVD charts. It was also shown on Disney Channel South Africa, the latest Disney channel at that time in the southern hemisphere. It was the top selling DVD in Australia in August 2006. In addition, the Region 3 DVD was released on October 10 in Hong Kong. It also released in Taiwan on December 15, 2006. This is the first Region 3 DCOM DVD ever released. It was released in Mexico on November 10 and in Brazil on December 6 to coincide with Christmas and the Rede Globo broadcast of the film. It was released in New Zealand on July 12, 2006 and was awarded most popular pre-teen movie in New Zealand for 2006.

High School Musical was the first feature length video content from the iTunes Store in mid-March 2006. At the time it was available as a 320x240 resolution 487MB download for $9.00 after initially being mistakenly listed for $1.99.

The Remix Edition, a 2-disc Special Edition, was released on December 5, 2006. The Remix DVD was released in France on June 20, 2007 and in Germany on September 13, 2007. The Remix DVD was released in the UK on September 10, 2007.

Despite being filmed in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, both the original and Remix Edition DVD releases featured a 1.33:1 "full screen" version (though not pan and scan as the camera stays directly in the center of the image), the format of the film as shown on the Disney Channel. The widescreen, high definition version is available exclusively on Disney Blu-ray in North America and has subsequently been showing in the UK and Ireland on BBC One, and BBC HD and RTE One. The HD version is also available on PlayStation Store Video section and Sony Entertainment on line for the US market.


High School Musical 2

High School Musical 2 is the first sequel. It debuted on August 17, 2007 on Disney Channel in the U.S., and on Family in Canada. The premiere brought in a total of 17.3 million viewers in the United States, almost 10 million more than its predecessor, making it (at the time of its airing) the highest-rated Disney Channel movie to date and the most viewed television film to date.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

High School Musical 3: Senior Year is the third installment in Disney's High School Musical franchise. It was released to theaters across the United States on October 24, 2008. Kenny Ortega returned as director and choreographer, as did all six primary actors.

Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure

Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure is a spin-off and direct-to DVD film starring Ashley Tisdale. The film features Sharpay Evans trying to get a role in a Broadway show following graduation. The film was released as a Blu-ray and DVD combination pack on April 19, 2011.

High School Musical 4

On March 1, 2016, it was announced that High School Musical 4 was in development with a casting call for actors to audition as new characters for the East High Wildcats and their school rivals, the West High Knights.

Other Media

Foreign Adaptations


High School Musical: El desafio (Argentina) is a spin-off for the Argentine market, based on the book "Battle of the Bands". The film arrived in Argentine theaters on July 17, 2008.


High School Musical: O Desafio is a spin-off of the American film High School Musical. The Brazilian spin-off is based on the book "Battle of the Bands". The film was released in Brazilian theaters on February 5, 2010.


Disney High School Musical China, also called High School Musical China: College Dreams, is a Chinese version of the American series, released in North America on DVD under the Disney World Cinema Brand. Film Business Asia critic Derek Elley rated the adaptation three points out of ten and called the choreography by former Madonna dancer, Ruthy Inchaustegui, and songs "bland". However, Elley picked the three songs as "half-memorable, the ballad "Rainy Season" sung by two leading characters, the glitzy "Perfection" by the college rich bitch and the climatic "I Can Fly", which doesn't quite succeed at being an anthemnal, uplifting ballad."

On Stage Performances

Concert Tour

See Also: High School Musical: The Concert

The High School Musical: The Concert tour started on November 29, 2006 kicking off in San Diego, California. The tour continued until January 28, 2007 performing in major cities around the United States, Canada and Latin America. The concert featured all of the original cast members except for Zac Efron, who was shooting Hairspray. Efron was replaced by Drew Seeley (whose voice was blended with Efron's during the film). The concert featured the original songs from the film, as well as songs from Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and Corbin Bleu.

Stage Musical

See Also: High School Musical on Stage!

On August 1, 2006, Playbill announced that the Stagedoor Manor summer theater camp, featured in the film Camp, would be the first venue to produce High School Musical on-stage.

North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, MA had a stage production of High School Musical running until the end of July 2007, featuring Broadway actor Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Rockwell, a semi-finalist on Grease: You're the One that I Want!, as Sharpay. Pacific Repertory Theatre's School of Dramatic Arts staged the California premiere in 2007 (which it revived in 2008), and presented the West Coast premiere of High School Musical 2 in January 2009.

Theater of the Stars of Atlanta, Georgia was the first professional company to put on High School Musical. A parody, Scary Musical, has been created in Northern Ireland.

Ice Tour

"Feld Entertainment" produced global tour titled, High School Musical: The Ice Tour which had its world premiere in New York City on September 29, 2007. The cast included 2004 World Junior Bronze Medalist Jordan Brauninger and 2004-2005 Australian national champion Bradley Santer. The show contained elements and songs from both the original film and its sequel, High School Musical 2 and featured a special preview of High School Musical 3: Senior Year when the movie of the same name premiered in theaters.

Book Series

See Also: High School Musical Book Series

In June 2006, Disney Press published High School Musical: The Junior Novel, the novelisation of the successful film. This novel hit number one on the New York Times best-selling list and remained on the list for sixteen weeks. As of August 2007, the novel has sold more than 4.5 million copies, with 1 millon copies of the novel's follow-up, High School Musical 2: The Junior Novel, being shopped to American retailers. High School Musical 3: Senior Year came out on September 23, 2008. Shortly after the success of the original novel, Disney announced that a book series, entitled Stories From East High, would be published in February 2007 with a new book being published every 60 days until July 2008. It also came to England, at the O2.

Reality Series

See Also: High School Musical: Get in the Picture

During July and August 2008, ABC broadcast a reality competition based on the series, High School Musical: Get in the Picture hosted by Nick Lachey. The winner of the show appeared in a music video during the credirts of High School Musical 3. The series premiered to poor ratings, with the show coming in fourth place in its timeslot. In the UK, a reality show titled Hairspray: The School Musical premiered in 2008 on Sky1. It saw a team of vocal coaches, acting coaches and choreographers hold auditions at a regular comprehensive school where a mix of students could audition for a West End production of the hit Broadway musical, Hairspray. Although the musical being performed was not High School Musical, the film was the inspiration behind the show. The show was presented by Denise Van Outen and was credited, along with High School Musical, for inspiring a generation of children in the United Kingdom to get into theatrical work.

Video Games

Disney Interactive Studios has produced 6 video games based on the High School Musical series, all taking the guise of music video games incorporating songs and plots from the films.


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2006 American Music Award Best Pop Album  High School Musical Soundtrack Nominated
ASTRA Awards Favorite International Program Won
Billboard Music Award Soundtrack Album of the Year  High School Musical Soundtrack Won
Album of the Year High School Musical Soundtrack Nominated
Humanitas Prize Children's Live Action Category Peter Barsocchini Won
Imagen Foundation Awards Best Actress - Television Vanessa Hudgens Nominated
Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards Fave Movie Won
Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards Best TV Actor Zac Efron Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Choreography Kenny Ortega, Charles Klapow and Bonnie Story Won
Outstanding Chiildren's Program Don Schain, Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush) Won
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special Kenny Ortega Nominated
Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special Jason La Padura and Natalie Hart Nominated
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics "Get'cha Head in the Game" sung by Zac Efron and written by Ray Cham, Greg Cham and Drew Seeley Nominated
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics "Breaking Free" sung by Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens and written by Jamie Houston Nominated
Satellite Award Best Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Programming Won
Teen Choice Award Television - Choice Breakout Star Zac Efron Won
Television - Choice Chemistry Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron Won
Television - Choice Comedy or Musical Show Won
Television - Choice Breakout Star Vanessa Hudgens Nominated
2007 Casting Society of America Best Children's TV Programming Jason La Padura and Natalie Hart Won
Costume Designers Guild Awards Outstanding Made for Television Movie or Miniseries Tom McKinley Nominated
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Program Kenny Ortega, Don Schain, Matias Alvarez and Tobijah Tyler Won
Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Music for Television - Long Form Carli Barber and Michael Dittrick Won
Image Award Outstanding Children's Program Nominated
Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program - Series of Special Corbin Bleu Nominated
PGA Awards Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special (Comedy or Drama) - Leading Young Actor Zac Efron Nominated
Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special (Comedy or Drama) - Leading Young Actress Vanessa Hudgens Nominated
Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special (Comedy or Drama) - Supporting Young Actor Corbin Bleu Nominated
Best Family Television Movie or Special Nominated
2008 Nominated