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Catching up with the cast of High School Musical
By Gerri Miller

The "All in this Together" scene from High School Musical
DISNEY CHANNEL/FRED HAYES
If you've watched High School Musical every time it's been on since it first aired in January on Disney Channel, here's some good news: the movie is now on DVD! Released on May 23 with both original and sing-along versions, bonus features like Learn the Dance Moves and backstage footage and interviews with the cast. On the same day, a Special Edition soundtrack CD will be available with karaoke tracks so you can sing along. High School Musical clothing and stationery are headed for Limited Too stores, and a novel will be in bookstores soon. But the best news is that a sequel is in the works starring the original cast. It will begin on the last day of school and take place over the summer—and may involve Sharpay becoming interested in Troy!

Cast members have been busy promoting High School Musical for the past five months but aren't tired of talking about the biggest hit movie in Disney Channel history. We caught up with Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay Evans), Zac Efron (Troy Bolton), Corbin Bleu (Chad Danforth), Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella Montez), Lucas Grabeel (Ryan Evans), and Monique Coleman (Taylor McKenzie) at a recent press conference.

SN Online: How are you like your characters?
Corbin Bleu: Chad is very into basketball. I'm similar to Chad in the way that he has a strong passion for what he does. But I'm kind of sports-challenged. Give me a ball and I don't know what to do with the thing! But I work really hard and by the end I was very comfortable with the ball.

Ashley Tisdale: Sharpay is really the drama queen, rules the school, gets thrown by Troy and Gabriella for wanting to go out for a musical. I'm nothing like her, thank God. But I probably can relate to her because of her passion for performing. I love to perform.

Zac Efron: Troy Bolton is the cool guy, super-jock extraordinaire, and boy I wish I was more like my character! He gets all the cool girls. He's like the dream character to play. I was not very good at all at sports. I was really small when I was younger. I was pretty bad at Little League baseball. I think I scored two points my entire basketball season. My dad convinced me to go out and audition for my first play. I went kicking and screaming but little did I know my dad had just showed me the coolest thing on earth. I started auditioning for every single play that was in our area. Luckily, I booked some of the roles and started doing very well. I would just like to be more like Troy because he's so cool.

Vanessa Hudgens: Gabriella is kind of the brainy girl who just likes to cuddle up with a good book. And I like playing her role because it's nice to show that the brainy girls can also be pretty. Gabriella and Taylor show it's OK to be smart. Gabriella and I both fight for what we want. But I would personally rather go to the movies and hang out with my friends, where she likes to stay home by the fire.

Lucas Grabeel: I hope that I am nothing like my character. He is very much into looking his best, always being in fashion and always thinking about his personal appearance. I am a simple, plain person. You know, I'm chilled and laid-back and not so out there and crazy.


The "Bop to the Top" scene.
(Photo: © DISNEY CHANNEL/FRED HAYES)
Monique Coleman: My character is a little bit brighter in the math and science department than I am. Okay, a lot. I definitely share the zest for education; I think it's really important for girls to know that it's cool to be smart. And I think that that's something that I really share.

SN Online: What were your auditions like? Did it take a long time to learn the lyrics and dance moves?
Lucas Grabeel: Well, the audition process starting out was pretty much like any other audition; except for the fact that we were singing in the first couple of auditions a capella, a song of our choice.

Monique Coleman: I'm the only one who doesn't sing in the movie, not because I can't. I do have musical theater background and had been dancing since I was really small.

Ashley Tisdale: I actually came in at the very last minute. They said I wasn't right for the part, but I was begging, "I want to come in." So I met with Kenny Ortega and got a song to learn for the screen test. I'm really uncoordinated with dance, but he made us all into dancers.

Zac Efron: Vanessa and I were paired up from the beginning; it was just a random pairing

Vanessa Hudgens: We danced together the whole eight hours.

Corbin Bleu: I originally auditioned for Lucas' role, but I couldn't shake my hips as well as Lucas could. They felt I was better for the role of Chad.

SN Online: What kind of feedback have you gotten from High School Musical fans?
Zac Efron: Watching kids react to the film is incredible. Adults are able to hide their true feelings or they may have not even seen the movie in the first place. With kids you get a very pure sense of joy when they see you, that's really fun. Because I remember when I was a kid, you used to see the people you look up to and when they sign that little piece of paper it made your day.

Ashley Tisdale: They perform the songs for us. They know the dance moves.

Lucas Grabeel: Monique and I were walking down the streets of New York and a girl told us, "I gave up High School Musical for Lent. I was watching it every day and it was getting in the way so I had to give it up for 40 days."

SN Online: What was your favorite scene in the movie?
Monique Coleman: My favorite scene is the one where Taylor is trying to convince Gabriella that she shouldn't attempt to audition for the musical but stay on our team. Not that I agree with it. But peer pressure is a huge thing in high schools and middle schools. I think it does feel overwhelming sometimes if someone is shoving an idea down your throat.

Corbin Bleu: Mine is the same, trying to convince Troy not to do it. You see the mischievous side to him.

SN Online: Did you have any idea while making it how successful the movie would be?
Zac Efron: Honestly, I don't think any of us had that kind of expectations. I think that it was just luck and all of us came together and we clicked on the set. We all got along so great. I think our connection on set really made the movie what it is.

SN Online: Why do you think it's been such a big hit?
Ashley Tisdale: I think the connection, the chemistry, the support from Disney—it's Grease for our generation. It's the music and all of it put together.


The "Get'cha head in the Game" scene.
(Photo: © DISNEY CHANNEL/FRED HAYES)
SN Online: Do you have a favorite song in the movie?
Ashley Tisdale: "Get'cha Head in the Game," but all of them have really important messages.

Vanessa Hudgens: "Get'cha Head in the Game."

Lucas Grabeel: "Can't Take My Eyes off of You."

SN Online: Are you looking forward to making the sequel?
Zac Efron: All the promotion and travel that we're doing is great, but filming is where the magic happened. It's all represented when we were filming that last number. So I can't wait to go back and experience that one more time with all my friends here.

Lucas Grabeel: I'm looking forward to coming together again in a different light. This time we're not going to have those two weeks or so of getting to know each other or anything. With all this publicity and press that we've done, we've really gotten to know each other.

Monique Coleman: We are so excited and grateful. It's been such a hit and such a success; we really are actors who auditioned for something that turned out to be really cool. And I think that we just want to continue to do the work.