High School Musical is an Emmy Award-winning American television film, and the first in the High School Musical film franchise. Upon its release on January 20, 2006, it became the most successful movie that Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) ever produced, with a television sequel High School Musical 2 released in 2007 and the feature film High School Musical 3: Senior Year released theatrically in October 2008. It is the first Disney Channel Original Movie to have a theatrical sequel. A fourth installment, High School Musical 4, was been announced to be in the writing stages and the script is complete.
High School Musical was Disney Channel's most watched movie at its time, with 7.7 million viewers in its premiere broadcast in the US. In the UK, it received 789,000 viewers for its premiere (and 1.2 million viewers overall during the first week), making it the 2nd most watched program for the Disney Channel (UK) of 2006. It was also the first ever Disney Channel Original Movie to be broadcast on the BBC on December 29, 2006.
The film's soundtrack was the best-selling album in the United States for 2006. With a plot described by the author and numerous critics as a modern adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, High School Musical is a story about two high school juniors from rival cliques – Troy Bolton (Zac Efron), captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne Hudgens), a beautiful and shy transfer student who excels in math and science. Together, they try out for the lead parts in their high school musical, and as a result, divide the school. Despite other students' attempts to thwart their dreams, Troy and Gabriella resist peer pressure and rivalry, inspiring others along the way not to "stick to the status quo".
High School Musical was filmed at East High School located in Salt Lake City, Utah, the auditorium of Murray High School, and Downtown Salt Lake City. Murray High School was also the set of: Take Down (1978), Read It and Weep (2006), Minutemen (2008) and High School Musical: Get in the Picture (2008).
East High School's basketball star Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and math-whiz Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) meet at a New Year's Eve party at a ski lodge over Christmas break. Here, they take part in a karaoke contest and sing ("Start of Something New").
They discover they have a great chemistry between them and end up exchanging numbers. A week later, Gabriella's mother is transferred and Gabriella begins classes at East High in Albuquerque, New Mexico where Troy sees her in homeroom. After making sure that it is she on his cell phone, Troy accidentally gets detention, along with Gabriella, his best friend and teammate Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu), scholastic decathlon captain and head of the science club Taylor McKessie (Monique Coleman), and Drama Club co-presidents Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale).
After homeroom, Troy and Gabriella see each other again and as they start talking near the sign-up sheet for the winter musical auditions, Sharpay sees them and assumes that Gabriella is interested in signing up. With Ryan's help, Sharpay determines that Gabriella is an "Einsteinette", and puts an article of her previous academic achievements into Taylor's locker.
During detention, Taylor approaches Gabriella and invites her to join the school's scholastic decathlon team. Due to their detention, both Troy and Chad miss their basketball practice, much to the annoyance of Coach Bolton, Troy's father. During a confrontation between the coach (Bart Johnson) and Ms. Darbus (Alyson Reed), it is made clear that neither of them has any real respect for the work that the other does. Troy eventually takes part in basketball practice, but he cannot seem to stop thinking about Gabriella and how he might actually enjoy singing ("Get'cha Head in the Game").
Troy skips basketball practice during free period to go for the auditions, which Gabriella also attends. However, both are too shy to come forward, so they hide behind a janitorial rolling cart as Sharpay and Ryan perform their version of the audition song ("What I've Been Looking For").
When Gabriella finally decides to audition, Troy offers to sing with her, but Ms. Darbus says that it is too late.
After a confrontation with Sharpay, Kelsi Nielsen (Olesya Rulin), the composer of the musical, trips and drops her notes and piano music. Troy and Gabriella rush to help her, and she offers to let them hear how the song was originally supposed to sound. Troy and Gabriella then sing the slower version of the song ("What I've Been Looking For (Reprise)").
Ms. Darbus hears them from behind the auditorium entrance and gives both Troy and Gabriella a callback. The next day, Sharpay sees the callback sheet and is furious. Once Chad and all the basketball players find out that Troy skipped basketball practice to audition for the musical, they are all shocked.
At lunch, everyone learns that Troy is doing something way out of a basketball player's nature, and the students start confessing their secret passions and talents ("Stick to the Status Quo"),
including basketball player Zeke Baylor's (Chris Warren Jr.) love for baking. At that moment, Gabriella slips and accidentally spills her lunch all over Sharpay's shirt. Sharpay tells Ms. Darbus that Gabriella did it on purpose and tries to convince her that Troy and Gabriella are trying to destroy the musical, but Ms. Darbus will not hear a word of it. Troy asks Gabriella to meet him at his secret hideout, the balcony of a greenhouse. There, she reveals that singing with him at the party was like meeting a new friend at kindergarten; she felt that he was like a best friend, although she hardly knew him. Meanwhile, Zeke attempts to talk to Sharpay, who says that she would rather stick pins in her eyes than watch Zeke play basketball.
Chad and Taylor decide that they need to devise a plan so that everything returns to normal. The basketball team tricks Troy into saying that Gabriella is not too important while she watches them through a wi-fi link. Gabriella is hurt and confused about where she and Troy now stand ("When There Was Me and You").
Troy tries to talk to Gabriella, but she tells him that she is not interested in taking part in the musical anymore and that it was never important to her.
After feeling guilty about ruining Troy and Gabriella's relationship, and noticing that they are no longer interested in the basketball game or the decathlon, Chad and Taylor decide to tell them the truth. Chad, Zeke, and basketball player Jason Cross explain everything to Troy in the greenhouse and offer to support him at the callbacks. Taylor and the scholastic decathlon team tell Gabriella what they did, but she is still angry and hurt because of what Troy said, convinced that he meant it. That night, Troy goes to her house, but she pretends to be busy with homework. He then calls on her cell phone from her backyard, telling her that the guy she met on vacation is way more him than the guy that "said those stupid things". He climbs onto her balcony and sings the first verse of "Start of Something New" in an attempt to persuade her to attend the callbacks with him ("Start of Something New (Reprise)"). Gabriella then realizes that Troy does care about her a lot. She apologizes for leaving him and she agrees to do the callbacks with him after he reminds her that it's a pair's audition, and together with Kelsi, they start practicing for the callback at school.
Soon, Sharpay and Ryan overhear Gabriella and Troy practicing, and feel intimidated by the competition. Sharpay succeeds in convincing Ms. Darbus to change the callbacks to the same time as the basketball championship and scholastic decathlon. Kelsi overhears their conversation with Ms. Darbus, and when she tells everyone about this, they are devastated. However, the chemistry team, the basketball team and Kelsi work together to come up with a plan. On the day itself, Taylor and Gabriella send a code by computer into the system to disrupt the basketball game by shutting down the scoreboard, and boiling a noxious chemical to stall the decathlon.
As Troy and Gabriella then rush to the theater, Sharpay and Ryan finish performing their song ("Bop to the Top"),
confident that they will get the part. Troy and Gabriella show up after Ms. Darbus has called their names twice, and she tells them again that they are too late. Many other students start streaming into the auditorium to support them and Ms. Darbus has no choice but to allow them to perform their song. Gabriella freezes when she sees everyone staring at her, but Troy tells her to look only at him, and she finds the courage to sing ("Breaking Free").
In the end, Ms. Darbus decides to award the lead roles to Troy and Gabriella, making Sharpay and Ryan understudies (and at the basketball game, Sharpay accepts her defeat and tells Gabriella to "break a leg").
After winning both the scholastic decathlon and the basketball game with Troy's last minute shot, (to which Troy and Gabriella tried to actually kiss, but were interrupted by Chad), Chad gives Troy the winning ball and later asks Taylor out to the victory party. Troy then gives the winning ball to Kelsi, which Jason helps her shoot into the basket. The film ends with the entire school gathering in the gym to celebrate ("We're All In This Together").
Afterwards, Zeke is still in the gym, which has balloons all over the floor. Suddenly Sharpay runs in saying his cookies are "genius" and "the best things she ever tasted". She asks Zeke if he will make some more for her, then she runs up and hugs him, then he says he might even make her a crème brûlée.
- Zac Efron as Troy Bolton
- Vanessa Anne Hudgens as Gabriella Montez
- Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay Evans
- Lucas Grabeel as Ryan Evans
- Corbin Bleu as Chad Danforth
- Monique Coleman as Taylor McKessie
- Alyson Reed as Ms. Darbus
- Bart Johnson as Coach Bolton
- Olesya Rulin as Kelsi Nielsen
- Chris Warren Jr. as Zeke Baylor
- Ryne Sanborn as Jason Cross
- Kaycee Stroth as Martha Cox
- Leslie Wing as Mrs. Bolton
- Socorro Herrera as Mrs. Montez
- Dutch Whitlock as Ripper (Skater Dude 1)
- Ryan Templeman as Mongo (Skater Dude 2)
- Start of Something New - Troy and Gabriella
- Get'cha Head in the Game - Troy and Basketball Team
- What I've Been Looking For - Ryan and Sharpay
- What I've Been Looking For (Reprise) - Troy and Gabriella
- Stick to the Status Quo - East High (except Troy, Gabriella, and Taylor)
- When There Was Me and You - Gabriella
- Start of Something New (Reprise) - Troy
- Bop to the Top - Ryan and Sharpay
- Breaking Free - Troy and Gabriella
- We're All In This Together - East High
Apart from the orginal version, there are many different versions of High School Musical.
- Sing-Along - January 21, 2006
A karaoke-style version allowed viewers to sing along to all the songs from the movie.
- Dance-Along - March 10, 2006
- Pop-Up Edition - November 24, 2006
Throughout the movie, trivia about High School Musical appeared in pop-ups.
- Around the World - January 20, 2007
This was the one-year anniversary of High School Musical. During commercial breaks, the cast was interviewed. Also, music videos from different countries was aired.
Shortly after the movie, a soundtrack was available. The soundtrack features all the hit songs from the movie as well as two karaoke songs, "Start of Something New" and "Breaking Free." It also featured the song "I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." A bonus track was included of B5 with their rendition of "Get'cha Head in the Game."
A 2-Disc special edition soundtrack followed shortly after the first soundtrack was released.
Disney produced two separate editions of High School Musical. The first was Encore Edition which came out in May 23, 2006. The second edition, Remix Edition, came out not long after on December 3, 2006.
This DVD features the original and sing-along versions of the movie. It also comes with the following features:
- Learning the Moves Featured by Director/Choreographer Kenny Ortega ("Bop to the Top")
- Never-Before-Seen Music Video I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You
- We're All In This Together Music Video
- Bringing It All Together: The Making of High School Musical
This DVD comes with all the bonus features from the Encore Edition as well as these features:
- Dance Along (as seen on TV)
- "Breaking Free Remix" Music Video
- "We're All In This Together Remix" Music Video
- Eres Tu Music Video
- High School Musical Reunion: Exclusive Interviews With the Cast
- Behind-The-Scenes Look at Hollywood Premiere Event
High School Musical: The Junior Novel was released soon after High School Musical came out. There was then a spin-off series Stories from East High.
- See High School Musical: The Theater Show for more information on the show of the same name.
- Official website at Disney Channel
- High School Musical DVDs Disney's Official High School Musical DVD site
- Disney Channel UK official website
- Disney Channel Asia official website
- Disney Channel's Official High School Musical India website
- East High School - The location of the movie shooting in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- High School Musical: The Concert - Official Tour Site
- BBC Website
- Australian Site
- High School Musical at TV.com