Meet the Cast of Disney's New 'High School Musical' Series (PHOTO)
It's the start of something new!
Production is underway in Salt Lake City, Utah on Disney+'s upcoming TV series, High School Musical: The Musical, inspired by the movie phenom.
"The 10-episode series picks up nearly 15 years after the original movie aired, at the real-life location where it all began: East High," according to a presser for Disney's new streaming service.
The movie follows "a group of students as they count down to opening night of their school's first-ever production of High School Musical. Show-mances blossom; friendships are tested while new ones are made; rivalries flare; and lives are changed forever as these young people discover the transformative power that only a high school drama club can provide."
Expect to hear brand-new songs and reinterpretations of the classics fans fell in love with from the Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens-starring films.
"We are truly excited about this extremely talented cast and the fresh and contemporary take on this globally beloved franchise,” said Agnes Chu, senior vice president of content, Disney+. "From the music and dance, to the characters and hilarious meta references, there is something here for fans of the originals, as well as people who are new to East High. It’s going to be an unforgettable viewing experience for Disney+ subscribers."
Meet the cast below:
Joshua Bassett (Ricky) – Basset is an 18 year-old actor and songwriter from Oceanside, California. He had a recurring role on Disney Channel's "Stuck in the Middle," recently guest starred on "Dirty John" and can currently be seen in a recurring role on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy." Bassett plays Ricky, a sarcastic yet charismatic skate rat and high school junior, who launches a bold plan to prove himself to his ex-girlfriend Nini — by auditioning to star opposite her in the school's first-ever production of "High School Musical: the Musical."
Olivia Rodrigo (Nini) – Born and raised in Temecula, California, Rodrigo has been singing, playing music and acting since she was age six. She most recently starred in Disney Channel's comedy "Bizaardvark." In "High School Musical: The Musical," Rodrigo plays Nini, who just returned from summer theater camp after finding her voice, her confidence — and her new boyfriend. Fiercely loyal to her two moms, Nini is a star — if she can just believe in herself long enough to stay put in the spotlight.
Kate Reinders (Miss Jenn) – A stage, film and television actress, Reinders was a series regular on ABC's "Work It" and Lifetime's "Sherri" and guest starred on "Modern Family" and "Ugly Betty." Her theatre roles include Broadway productions of "Meteor Shower," "Something Rotten!," "Wicked," Sam Mendes' revival of "Gypsy" and "Beautiful, the Carole King Musical." Her "High School Musical: The Musical" character, Miss Jenn, is the school's new high-energy, low-reality drama teacher, who believes musicals can save lives. She may suffer from serious imposter syndrome, but she would do anything for her students, even if it means fudging a few credits on her C.V.
The show has a 10-episode order and will premiere in 2019.
Sofia Wylie (Gina) – Born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Wylie has a starring role in Disney Channel's critically-acclaimed series "Andi Mack" and most recently made her musical debut with "Side by Side," part of the "Marvel Rising: Chasing Ghosts" special. She is recording her debut single which should be out late 2019. Wylie is also the voice of Riri Williams in the "Marvel Rising: Heart of Iron" animation series and just made her big screen debut with a leading title in Marvista's "Back of the Net." Her character, Gina, is a recent transfer student and a diehard theater kid with as many skeletons in the closet as she has credits on her résumé. She is both ambitious and entitled, and dead set on showing Miss Jenn that she made a huge mistake in casting her as the understudy.
Matt Cornett (E.J.) – Born in Rogers, Arkansas, Cornett had a recurring role on "Bella and The Bulldogs" and guest starred on "The Middle," "Southland" and "Criminal Minds," among others. He will play E.J., Nini's new love interest, the supremely confident son of two corporate lawyers, who secretly battles the pressure of living up to his picture-perfect Instagram account. Co-captain of the water polo team, senior class treasurer, and trust fund baby...it's not a good idea to cross E.J. if you get something he wants — like the lead in the musical.
Dara Renee' (Kourtney) – Los Angeles-born and Baltimore-raised, Renee' has entertainment in her genes. Since the age of 11, Renee' has studied at her and her mom's performing arts studio, "Encouraging Youth to Dream." She recently starred as Savannah in Disney Channel's Original Movie "Freaky Friday," has guest starred on ABC's "The Kids Are Alright" and recently landed the recurring role of Stunts on the hit ABC show "black-ish." Renee' plays the role of Kourtney, Nini's ride-or-die best friend who's obsessed with makeup tutorials and feminism in equal measure. Kourtney works on the costume crew of "High School Musical," pulling together runway-ready fashion on a high school budget.
Julia Lester (Ashlyn) – Los Angeles native Julia Lester has been working professionally since the age of five. Some of her television credits include recurring roles on the comedy "Mom," "Prince of Peoria" and "Mr. Student Body President." She has performed in dozens of local and regional musical productions including "Carrie: The Musical" and "Next to Normal." Lester plays E.J.'s cousin, Ashlyn, an "old soul" who worships Sara Bareilles and is an aspiring songwriter on the sly.
To celebrate 10 years of the Disney phenomenon, we rounded up some of our favorite HSM references that captured the musical's spirit (and cultural impact).
Frankie A. Rodriguez (Carlos) – Rodriguez has worked in television and film for the last four years and can be seen in the guest-starring role of Eduardo on ABC's "Modern Family." In "High School Musical: The Musical," Rodriguez plays Carlos — captain of the color guard and the student choreographer for the show. Carlos thinks of Miss Jenn as a peer. He eats lunch in her office, has been drinking espresso since the 3rd grade and already has his Tony Awards speech memorized.
Larry Saperstein (Big Red) – Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Saperstein acted opposite Kiernan Shipka in the film "Fan Girl" and will guest star in an upcoming episode of BET's "The First Wives Club." A skater boy through and through, Big Red is the spiritual cousin of both Bill and Ted: always fuzzy and he's been sleep-deprived since preschool. Big Red is weirdly devastated by Ricky and Nini's breakup — his surest role is as their wisecracking third wheel.
Mark St. Cyr (Mr. Mazzara) – A Louisiana native and an alumna of the ABC Diversity Showcase, St. Cyr's credits include the film "Marshall" opposite Chadwick Boseman and Jussie Smollett, and the critically acclaimed "Doomsday." He also guest starred on "Chicago P.D." and "After After Party." In "High School Musical: The Musical," St. Cyr plays Mr. Mazzara, East High's somewhat robotic S.T.E.M. teacher. His belief in preparing students for the future often leads him to butt heads with Miss Jenn, who would rather sing about life than live in the real world.
The series was developed and executive produced by Tim Federle alongside showrunner and executive producer Oliver Goldstick.
High School Musical: The Musical, 2019, Disney+