When “High School Musical” premiered on Disney Channel on January 20, 2006, it became a global success. The movie, which focused on basketball player Troy Bolton and book-smart Gabriella Montez breaking the status quo at East High by auditioning for coveted roles in the school musical, was filled with catchy songs and matching choreography.
Here are 17 things you probably didn’t know about the beloved franchise.
Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel, who played on-screen siblings, didn’t like each other at all when they first met.
In various interviews, the co-stars have spoken candidly about not connecting on set.
“I remember auditioning with Ashley and hating her because she wanted to rehearse a lot,” Grabeel told Billboard in 2018. “I was like, ‘Look, I don’t want to socialise much, I just want to work on my own thing, I came prepared.’ But we ran through the scene together outside, and she gave me notes in true Sharpay fashion. I was like, ‘Who is this girl telling me how to do my own audition?'”
When the pair teamed up to sing “What I’ve Been Looking For” on Tisdale’s YouTube channel, they explained that they simply didn’t understand each other.
“I think we just didn’t know each other and I think I was definitely a lot like Sharpay,” Tisdale said.
Nowadays, Tisdale and Grabeel are close friends.
“We just needed to live some life and go through some experiences together and learn where both of us came from and then it happened,” Grabeel said.
“HSM” was filmed at an actual high school in Utah, while classes were in session.
In the movies, East High School is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But in reality, the school is located in Salt Lake City and their mascot is a leopard.
Because they made the movie during regular school hours, the cast and crew was often on a time crunch. Specifically while filming “We’re All in This Together” in the gym, they had to make sure there were no errors.
“Once the confetti went off, you could only do it once because there wasn’t time to clean it up,” Coleman told BuzzFeed.
Unfortunately, parts of the school’s interior were damaged after a flash flood took place in 2017.
Another actor and singer, Drew Seeley, sang Efron’s tracks in “HSM.”
Most “HSM” fans probably know that Efron’s singing voice wasn’t heard too much in the first movie and the soundtrack. It has been speculated that his vocals were too low and he couldn’t hit a majority of the high notes, so they went with Seeley, who also auditioned and wrote “Get’cha Head in the Game.”
Seeley did get to sing Efron’s parts when the cast embarked on a concert tour, which the actor couldn’t attend because he was busy working on “Hairspray.”
Efron ended up singing for real for “HSM 2” and “HSM 3,” though.
“That was a very huge point for me,” Efron told the Orlando Sentinel in 2007. “I had to put my foot down and fight to get my voice on these tracks.”
He added: “In the first movie, after everything was recorded, my voice was not on them. I was not really given an explanation. It just kind of happened that way. Unfortunately, it put me in an awkward position. It’s not something I expected to be addressed. Then ‘High School Musical’ blew up. I’m very fortunate that Drew has gotten proper credit and also that I’ve gotten the opportunity to come back and try it again with my own voice.”
Monique Coleman almost quit acting right before she booked the role of Taylor McKessie.
“I was going through a period which a lot of actors go through where you are on the brink of giving up because it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for you,” Coleman told BuzzFeed.
She was also hesitant to audition for the movie and said it “was an actually an active argument between me, my agents, and my manager.”
Coleman ultimately gave it a shot because she “connected” to Taylor.
“At the time, Raven-Symoné was the most prominent African-American on the Disney Channel [on “That’s So Raven”], if not the only one,” Coleman explained to BuzzFeed. “I really wanted my nieces and godsisters and just other girls that were like me growing up that didn’t really have a role model that looked like them [to see themselves as] the smartest girl in school.”
Several of the main cast members auditioned for other roles in “HSM.”
Tisdale and Coleman both auditioned to play Gabriella.
“I just knew that I was terrible,” Coleman recalled to BuzzFeed.”I didn’t really feel equipped to sing and dance.”
Grabeel also tried out for the role of Troy and vividly remembers hearing Seeley’s audition right before his.
“I obviously heard him because it was in a trailer, so it was really thin walls and I was like, ‘Oh s—. I’m totally not gonna get this because that guy’s incredible,'” Grabeel told BuzzFeed.
According to BuzzFeed, Bleu auditioned for Ryan because he wasn’t aware of the role of Chad Danforth.
Grabeel was working at Blockbuster video before he auditioned for “HSM.”
Prior to “HSM,” Grabeel’s first acting role was in the 2004 Disney Channel movie “Halloweentown High.” He went on to land two more minor parts before booking the role of Ryan Evans, but they weren’t enough to financially support Grabeel.
“After shooting ‘Halloweentown High,’ I had to go back to work at Blockbuster because I made a little money, but I didn’t book anything right after,” he told Buzzfeed.
Tisdale and Coleman actually knew each other before “HSM” because Coleman was on an episode of “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.”
Tisdale starred as candy counter girl Maddie Fitzpatrick on the Disney Channel show with Dylan and Cole Sprouse. Coleman also had a recurring role as Mary-Margaret, one of Maddie’s friends.
The “HSM” soundtrack was the top-selling album of 2006, according to Nielsen.
That year, 3.7 million copies were sold. It was also the first ever TV movie soundtrack to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200, with a few songs charting on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, they took home a Billboard Music Award for soundtrack album of the year in 2006.
Bleu came up with the catchy and funny T-shirt phrases that his character wore in the movies.
The catchphrases seen in all three movies included “I majored in vacation” and “I come with my own background music.”
“I kept the one that said, ‘I worship waffles,'” Bleu told Seventeen magazine prior to the release of “HSM 2.” “The cool thing is that I actually came up with all of the sayings and they asked me to do the same this time. My favourite one for this movie was, ‘You’ve been Chadified.’ I’m not sure that they will end up using it though.”
Bleu also chose Chad’s basketball jersey number.
He picked No. 8 because it’s his favourite number.
In “HSM 2,” the pink piano used in Sharpay’s performance of “Fabulous” was repainted white for “Everyday” at the end of the movie.
The pink hue perfectly matched “Fabulous,” in which Sharpay wore a white and magenta outfit and sang about “iced tea imported from England” and “lifeguards imported from Spain.”
For the second to last musical number, the characters dressed in white attire and gathered near the matching piano that Kelsi played.
Fans voted for Miley Cyrus to make a cameo in “HSM 2.”
By the time the sequel premiered on Disney Channel in August 2007, Cyrus was already a familiar face, thanks to her starring role on “Hannah Montana.”
For the second “HSM” movie, fans got to vote online and make decisions, like which “Hannah Montana” should appear in the movie and what dessert Zeke should give Sharpay.
Cyrus popped up during the final musical number of the movie, “All for One.”
“HSM 2” is still the highest-rated Disney Channel Original Movie of all time.
According to the New York Times, 17.2 million viewers tuned in across the country when the movie premiered on August 17. 2007. “HSM 2” also dethroned the TNT movie “Crossfire Trail” and became the most-watched movie on basic cable.
Currently “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie” and “Camp Rock” are in second and third place as Disney Channel’s highest-rated original movies.
One of the initial plans for the third movie was for it to have a haunted theme, but the idea was quickly scrapped.
When fans got wind of a third “HSM” movie, it was called “Haunted High School Musical.”
The idea didn’t last too long, and Disney ultimately went with a storyline that focused on the students’ senior year.
“I don’t think the haunted thing lasted very long,” Efron told MTV in 2007.
“I think they just kind of threw that out there,” Tisdale added.
Selena Gomez was offered a role in “HSM 3,” but turned it down because she was looking to do more serious roles.
The actress didn’t specify which part she turned down, but fans have speculated that she was offered the role of Tiara Gold, who played Sharpay’s young assistant.
There were lots of pranks pulled on the set, and Efron was the ringleader.
The cast agreed that Efron was the biggest prankster.
“I just like to keep everybody on their toes,” Efron said during an interview.
The actor’s pranks included throwing water balloons at his co-stars and putting caution tape all over Bleu’s trailer.
The cast got revenge while filming the third movie, by covering the inside of Efron’s trailer with toilet paper, attacking him with water guns, and dumping a bucket of water on him.
Director Kenny Ortega had a jar on set and each time a cast member was caught yawning, they had to put money inside.
The money that was accumulated was later donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation located in Utah, where they filmed.
“Every year for like, five years, on Christmas he would donate to a charity in our names,” Coleman told BuzzFeed.
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