Ryan Evans is one of the main characters of High School Musical. He's co-president of the Drama Club with his fraternal twin sister Sharpay, with whom he's co-starred in 17 school productions to date.
In High School Musical, Ryan is the secondary antagonist, while in High School Musical 2, he acts as a triantagonist. In High School Musical 3, he functions somewhere between, as a reluctant antagonist.
His 1st appearance was on January 20, 2006 in the original High School Musical on January 20, 2006, and his 2nd appearance was on August 17, 2007 in High School Musical 2. His 3rd and last appearance was on October 24, 2008 in High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
He was chosen by Julliard School to take scholarship along with Kelsi because of his choreography in the Senior Year Spring Musical. He also appears along side Sharpay in her stand-alone movie, Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure.
In High School Musical, Ryan functions almost exclusively as Sharpay's sidekick, as Sharpay attempts to keep Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez from winning the roles of Arnold and Minnie in the school's Winter musical, Twinkle Towne and Ryan followed along. In spite of some moments where Ryan appears annoyed by Sharpay's domineering attitude, he accepts her leadership unquestioningly throughout the movie, most often acting as a source of comic relief.
In the 2nd movie, however, Ryan's discontentment is more pronounced as he struggles to be considered his sister's equal. Toward the beginning of the movie, he assists Sharpay in her plan to win Troy Bolton, but when Sharpay replaces him with Troy in their talent show performance, he gains enough confidence to stand up to her, befriending the Wildcats through a baseball game, whereupon he impresses them with his slugging prowess by hitting four homeruns. He agrees to choreograph their show, instead. Sharpay is shocked by her brother's actions, demanding that he tell her when he became "one of them," to which Ryan merely takes that as a compliment. On the night of the talent show, Sharpay tells Ryan that they will be singing Humuhumunukanuka'apua'a, but due to the fact that Ryan made friends with the Wildcats and helped them out in the talent show, he rejects the offer getting his sister more frustrated. In the end, after many twists and turns, Ryan orchestrates a plan to have Troy sing with Gabriella (instead of Sharpay) in the Wildcats' show, performing Everyday. Sharpay, apparently moved by the performance, announces Ryan as the winner of the talent show and presents him with the Star Dazzle award. The two reconcile, joining the Wildcats in singing the movie's final number, All For One. In this movie, you could see Ryan as his own person, and we learn that without Sharpay he is actually as nice as any Wildcat and can work well with all of them.
In the 3rd and final movie, Ryan was seen in the basketball championship and he's performing as a mascot. Afterwards, he appears at Troy's party after the game. The next day, he's assigned to choreograph the senior year spring musical, at which he is pleased.
Eating lunch that day with his sister, she suddenly breaks out into song, trying to persuade him to "want it all" as she does. He is reluctant to the idea at first, but then warms up to it. The siblings are both after the Julliard scholarship, which Sharpay, Ryan, Kelsi and Troy are possible candidates for but can only be acquired by 1 of them, and Sharpay says that Ryan must spend time with Kelsi ("Polish her glasses, buy her ruby slippers, take her to prom! I don't know! Just do it.") so she'll write the best song for them. Ryan is uneasy about his sister's request, possibly indicating that he really does like Kelsi, but obeys.
Putting Sharpay's plan into action, he offers to be Kelsi's date in the prom scene in the musical. The next day, Ryan arrives to school early, and sees Kelsi practicing her new song for the musical. He joins her in singing it, showing talent for playing the piano as well. They sing the 1st 1/3 of the song, Ryan asking Kelsi to the real prom in the middle of their part, and then Troy and Gabriella finish the duet, Ryan helping them with their choreography. Sharpay then tells Ryan that Gabriella is up to go to college early, and that she'll steal Gabriella's part to get closer to Troy, as Gabriella won't be able to make it to the musical. Ryan, exasperated, tells Sharpay that she isn't Gabriella, sticking up for his friends. Nevertheless, Gabriella goes to the college early, and Sharpay steals Gabriella's role in Kelsi's song Just Want To Be With You.
Ryan still continues to work at choreographing the show, although a bit halfheartedly now. This shows that he really liked the Wildcats. Soon after, the big musical begins. Ryan and Kelsi start off the show by singing the ballad Last Chance, and then Chad and the East High Basketball Team sing Now Or Never (Reprise). Ryan then comes out and sings his 1st solo of the 3 films, I Want It All (Reprise). In the final number it's revealed that both Ryan and Kelsi have won Juilliard scholarships. Ryan is very surprised, but accepts it. His sister applauds him even though she didn't win it, and the two get back on to respectful terms with each other. At graduation, Ryan joins into the sing and dance during the final musical number, reflecting his experiences at East High and singing with his sister and dancing with Kelsi. At the end of the song, Troy, Gabriella, Chad, Taylor, Ryan and Sharpay walk onto a stage where they take one final bow.
Ryan appears briefly in the movie credits of the spin-off film about his sister. He visits NYC to congratulate her on her Broadway success. Sharpay mentions that Ryan is on tour around the country in a musical, perhaps meaning that she is not the only one from East High to get her big break. The film ends with Ryan getting stuck in Sharpay's "closet with a tongue".
Although seen as perhaps lacking in intelligence in the first movie, unable to read, "Go Drama Club!" on the basketball team's shirts even though he is in the drama club, although this may have had to do with the wearers, Ryan's intelligence becomes more pronounced as the series progresses. He is able to choreograph two shows by his own means, and in a deleted clip from the third film even hints at Tiara's deceit by saying her name "sounds like a stage name". His role as Sharpay's sidekick is obviously meant to undermine his true intelligence. In the second and third films, we find that it is not Ryan, but Jason that is the true ditz.
Songs uncredited in the movies/soundtracks
- High School Musical - I Can't Take My Eyes Off of You (uncredited in the movie)
- High School Musical 2 - Humuhumunukanuka'apua'a (uncredited in the movie)
- High School Musical 3 - Last Chance (uncredited in the movie and soundtack)
- Lucas Grabeel, the actor, and director Kenny Ortega wanted to make Ryan gay, but after a meeting with Disney their idea was denied as Disney did not think a homosexual character was appropriate for a G-rated movie.
- In the stage version, Ryan is portrayed to seem more feminine than in the movies, with implications that he has a crush on Troy; pictures of the aforementioned are seen in Ryan's locker.
- High School Musical DVDs - Disney's Official High School Musical DVD site
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- Disney Channel UK official website
- Disney Channel Asia official website