THEN AND NOW: The cast of the 'High School Musical' movies 13 years later

  • “High School Musical” came out in 2006.
  • The cast has gone on to star in movies and TV.
  • Zac Efron is a bona fide movie star now.
  • Vanessa Hudgeons has a number of upcoming projects, including Netflix’s movie “Polar.”

On January 20, 2006, Disney Channel premiered “High School Musical.” The movie centered on a jock (played by then-unknown Zac Efron) falling in love with a shy, book-smart girl named Gabriella (portrayed by Vanessa Hudgens) and shaking up the norms after auditioning for the school’s musical.

Catchy tracks and perfectly synchronised choreography resulted in the film being viewed by millions of people nationwide, and the soundtrack became the top-selling album of 2006.

It was also recently revealed that a new series called “High School Musical: The Musical,” will be available when Disney’s streaming service launches in 2019. The 10-episode show will feature a new generation of actors, rather than the familiar faces from the three films.

Keep reading to see what the cast has been up to in the 13 years since “HSM” was released.


Zac Efron starred as Troy Bolton.

Disney ChannelThis was Zac Efron’s breakout role.

He was the most popular guy at East High, equally talented at singing and playing basketball. Troy fell in love with Gabriella after meeting her at a ski resort and reluctantly being paired up for karaoke.


Efron went on to star in comedies and musicals.

Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesIn 2009, Zac Efron starred in ’17 Again’ and played the teenage version of Matthew Perry’s character.

It’s unclear when Efron and co-star Vanessa Hudgens began dating in real life, but they split in 2010.

Since “HSM,” Efron has showed off his smooth moves as Link Larkin in the 2007 movie “Hairspray.” He also led R-rated films like “That Awkward Moment,” “Neighbours,” “Dirty Grandpa,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” and “Baywatch.”

In December 2017, the actor starred in “The Greatest Showman” alongside Zendaya and Hugh Jackman.

Next, the 31-year-old will play real-life serial killer Ted Bundy in “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.”


Gabriella Montez was portrayed by Vanessa Hudgens.

Disney ChannelGabriella wore a necklace with Troy’s initial on it.

Gabriella was one of the smartest students in her class. She was shy, but showcased her fun side whenever she took the stage for a performance.


Hudgens has made a name for herself as both an actress and singer.

The 30-year-old released two albums (one in 2006 and the other in 2008). In 2012, she starred in “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” with Dwayne Johnson and “Spring Breakers” with Selena Gomez.

She hit Broadway with the titular role in the musical “Gigi,” which ran for a few months in 2015. The actress also sang and danced as Rizzo in “Grease Live!” and starred on the short-lived NBC sitcom “Powerless.”

These days, Hudgens is keeping busy on-screen and off-screen. She has been dating actor Austin Butler for more than five years and is currently a judge on FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

She recently appeared on the big screen in two films – “Dog Days” with Nina Dobrev and “Second Act” with Jennifer Lopez. Next, she’ll play Maureen Johnson in FOX’s “Rent: Live.” You can also catch her in the new Netflix thriller “Polar,” which will be available on January 25.


Ashley Tisdale played mean girl Sharpay Evans.

Disney ChannelSharpay Evans was always jealous of Troy and Gabriella’s relationship.

Sharpay loved attention, and didn’t appreciate people who were also gifted performers.


Ashley Tisdale is now an actress, singer, beauty founder, and executive producer.

Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for JDRF LA ChapterAshley Tisdale is BFFs with Vanessa Hudgens in real life.

Prior to “HSM,” Tisdale was already Disney Channel royalty for her role as Maddie on “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.” She continued playing the Tipton hotel’s candy counter girl until the show ended in 2008 and voiced the character Candace on “Phineas and Ferb.”

Even though it has been almost 10 years since her last album dropped (she released two in 2007 and 2009), Tisdale confirmed that a third – titled “Symptoms” – is on the way and scheduled for release this fall.

She tied the knot with musician Christopher French in 2014 and branched into beauty with the creation of Illuminate Cosmetics in 2016.


Lucas Grabeel played Sharpay’s brother, Ryan Evans.

Disney ChannelRyan Evans has a great sense of style.

He was constantly forced to participate in schemes with his fraternal sister. But Chad gained a newfound sense of respect for Ryan after they danced to a baseball-themed routine in the sequel.


After “HSM,” Grabeel went on to voice characters on popular TV shows.

Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesLucas Grabeel at the premiere of Disney and Marvel Studios’ ‘Doctor Strange.’

You might have recognised the 34-year-old’s voice on shows like “Elena of Avalor” and “Family Guy.” He also voices a hot dog on the new Nickelodeon and Netflix show “Pinky Malinky.”

Additionally, he also starred as Toby Kennish on the drama series “Switched at Birth” and competed on the Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2014. Acting aside, Grabeel is part of a folk-rock band called Midnight Holler.

When Grabeel teamed up with Tisdale in 2017 to sing “What I’ve Been Looking For” (popularised by the first “HSM” film) the former co-stars revealed a surprising detail about their relationship.

“We were not close,” Tisdale recalled. “We were not good friends, let’s be honest.”

Grabeel added that they “didn’t get off on the best foot,” but nowadays they love each other.


Troy’s wingman, Chad Danforth, was played by Corbin Bleu.

Disney ChannelEven though he didn’t want to associate himself with musicals, Chad Danforth was clearly an impeccable dancer.

In a 2007 interview, Bleu revealed that he actually came up with the creative and fun catchphrases that were written on Chad’s shirts.

“I kept the one that said, ‘I worship waffles,'” he added.


Bleu went on to become a Broadway star.

Michael Tran/Getty ImagesCorbin Bleu starred in a DCOM of his own titled ‘Jump In!’

He starred in productions of “In the Heights,” “Godspell,” and “Holiday Inn, the New Irving Berlin Musical.” In February, he’ll return to Broadway in a revival of “Kiss Me, Kate!”

The 29-year-old was also the runner-up on season 17 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and released two albums.

He guest-starred on episodes of “Castle,” “The Good Wife,” “The Fosters,” and “Chicago Med.”‘

In 2016, Bleu married actress Sasha Clements.


Monique Coleman starred as Taylor McKessie.

Disney ChannelShe is Gabriella’s best friend.

Taylor was the leader of East High’s scholastic decathlon team and selected as the activities coordinator at Lava Springs.


Coleman now uses her platform to empower others.

David Livingston/Getty ImagesMonique Coleman married Walter Jordan in 2012.

Aside from her Instagram being filled with inspirational messages, Coleman was named the United Nations’ first-ever “Youth Champion” for her efforts to improve the lives of young people.

She is also a “Champion” for Girl Up, an organisation that strives to help young women become leaders.

Like Bleu, the 38-year-old competed on “DWTS.” She participated in 2006 and finished in fourth place. Coleman still remains good friends with Bleu and sat down to interview him for an episode of her talk show, “Gimme Mo” (which airs on Discovery Life Channel).


Songwriter and pianist Kelsi Nielsen was played by Olesya Rulin.

Disney ChannelKelsi Nielsen was an introvert.

She wrote the song “You Are the Music in Me” for Troy and Gabriella.


Rulin runs a blog where she answers questions from fans, shares wellness and beauty tips, and writes about fashion.

Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for CIROCRulin was in a relationship with ‘Younger’ star Nico Tortorella, but the two are no longer together.

Most recently, the 32-year-old starred in the TV movie “Devious Nanny.” She also appeared on shows like “SEAL Team,” “The Night Shift,” “NCIS,” and “The Mentalist.”

She’s quite close with Coleman and thanked her for “cheering me on and making me see my own potential. All while helping young people around the world achieve their dreams.”

Visit

INSIDER’s homepage

for more.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.