High School Musical- The Show Must Go On


Lydia Wood, Staff Reporter


Since the release of “High School Musical” in 2006, the movie’s franchise has been huge, ranging from selling merchandise to eventually producing a movie in theaters. The story of Troy and Gabriella defying high school standards to be together was as beautiful as it was cliche: it portrayed the love of the jock and nerd, but this time with a twist of theatre and rivalries.

When Disney Plus launched in early November of 2019, the show “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” was released. It was met with high anticipation to see if it would be just as good as the film. 




In the movie, we see a plot where teenagers try to put on the school musical, and this is mirrored in the series. The characters from both the movie and the series are faced with choices that could jeopardize friendships and change their school image.

In the show’s universe, we witness learning that even Disney acknowledges “High School Musical” as a movie first and foremost instead of a story of teenagers. They acknowledge that the people who played Troy and Gabriella were just actors and actresses, a giant leap for Disney. 



In the movie, Troy and Gabriella, the main characters, meet for the first time; whereas in the TV show, most everyone already knows everyone else. In the movie we see new relationships form and develop, different from the show where you are thrust into the world. 

While the show does well in putting these things in context and not trying to go frame by frame from the movie, it still misses some of those key elements that made “High School Musical” such a good watch. The show doesn’t come in contact with limits of the status quo, it more so settles that everyone has accepted that they’re past that element. It goes to show that society as a whole has advanced from having stagnant expectations of people to do something, just based on their interests or where they came from. It shows that society has changed to allow people to be whoever they want to be. This tends to follow the age range of the people who would have grown up with high school musical and are now past it.


The Characters

The characters all have different home situations, some of which reflect situations that characters in the movie have. The characters of the show deal immensely with family struggles, such as divorce, moving, and absent parents.

And while this makes the characters relatable to us, it was still harder to relate to the characters in the show than in the movie. 

In trying to give the show that extra boost of drama, they lost some parts of the characters that we bonded with. 

Nini, for all of her strengths and weaknesses, didn’t seem to know how to be okay without a boyfriend, whereas Gabriella was able to acknowledge what happened with Troy (after a very powerful and encouraging solo) and move on. In Nini’s case, she seems to focus too much on her love life, instead of more important things in her life.

There isn’t much similarity between the two productions’ main characters, although we do see resonating themes in different characters throughout. Gina, the new girl who’s fighting Nini for the lead role, is constantly on the move; much like Gabriella. Ricky, Nini’s ex, joins the musical to impress her and try to win her back; similar to the reason Troy joined. Ashlyn is a shy but friendly songwriter and composer, just like Kelsey.


Musical Content

As far as the songs go between “High School Musical” and “High School Musical: The Series,” the lyrics for the show are far more shallow than the lyrics of the movie. 

The songs lose their depth in a goal to become relatable to this generation. Where we had songs in the movie about ‘reaching for the stars’ and ‘sticking to the status quo’ we now have songs about ‘sliding into your DM’s’ or how ‘all I want is a good guy.’

In season one we receive ten new songs, a good kickstart to making the show different from the movie.

Though, overall, the songs in the show were lackluster compared to what we received from the movie. They didn’t seem to feel as though they were sung with as much heart and soul as they were in the movie.

This could be partly due to having a different composer/songwriter, as David Lawerence did not write for the show like he did the movies. Instead, music was composed and written by a band called The Rescues. 



While the show does a good job of differentiating itself from the movie and we could never expect it to be a replacement for the legacy it was built from, it will just never be as good as the movie itself. There’s something about Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez that is just simply irreplaceable.