The highly anticipated launch of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” is almost here, and Disney is giving the show the red carpet treatment across its networks. ABC, Disney Channel, and Freeform will air the first episode in a one-night-only special event on November 8th, in advance of the show’s debut on Disney+ on November 12th. Filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah, the high school serves as both the setting and film location for the original movie and the new series. The scripted Disney+ series introduces 10 main characters: Nini, Ricky, Gina, E.J., Ashlyn, Kourtney, Carlos, Big Red, Miss Jenn and Mr. Mazzara – a group of drama students and faculty members at East High.
Disney’s official description reads, “Through the course of 10 episodes, these characters count down from auditions to opening night of their school’s first-ever 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.”
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 and 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 has already memorized his Tony Award® 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 S.T.E.M. teacher.
The series was created and is executive produced by Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee Tim Federle, who also wrote the first episode. The first episode was directed by Tamra Davis. Oliver Goldstick, Tamra Davis, and Emmy Award-winning “High School Musical” executive producers Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush also serve as executive producers of the first episode.
Launching on November 12th, Disney+ will be the new home for all things Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more. The streaming service will offer ad-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action, and animated series and short-form content. In addition to “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” other original programming available at launch includes “The Mandalorian,” “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” and “Encore!,” and films “Lady and the Tramp” and “Noelle.”
You can sign up now for Disney+, but the company said if you want to join the Hulu/Disney+/ESPN bundle, you should wait until launch day. You can check out a breakdown of the other content coming to Disney+ to get a better idea of what will be available to streamers.
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