One of absolutely the wildest reveals on tv is about to get even wilder. After a breakout first season and the meteoric rise of one among its stars, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is lastly set to return this May, and as soon as once more it’s subverting expectations. Instead of doing High School Musical 2, the East High workforce is placing on a manufacturing of Beauty and the Beast.
Half a meta exploration into the High School Musical universe, half an exciting teen saga in its personal proper, HSM:TM:TS doesn’t stand out solely due to its title. Thanks to its endlessly proficient solid, whip-smart writing, and catchy musical numbers, the comedy has emerged as some of the heartwarming reveals on tv. Ahead of the Season 2 premiere, Decider spoke to collection creator Tim Federle in addition to its stars Joshua Bassett, Matt Cornett, Julia Lester, and Larry Saperstein about this season’s path to aggressive highschool theater.
But first, the platinum elephant within the room. While Season 2 was in the midst of manufacturing, one thing occurred that may eternally change the historical past of this present: Olivia Rodrigo launched “drivers license.” Shortly after its launch, Taylor Swift posted on Instagram in regards to the music. That’s when Rodrigo’s title and voice turned family staples.
Even although this music is believed to be in regards to the romantic relationship and falling out between Rodrigo and her co-star Joshua Bassett, Federle says the 2 had been nothing however skilled on set. “I did not feel the material impact anything other than everybody, including Josh, being exceptionally excited for Olivia with this crazy rocket ride,” Federle mentioned.
As for the way “drivers license” affected High School Musical: The Musical: The Series‘ popularity, that’s a complete different subject. “I know it’s certainly impacted album streams,” Federle revealed. “I don’t always love the algorithm, but the algorithm is such that she has one single, and then all of a sudden ‘All I Want’ starts playing and I think people are like, ‘Wait what’s this?’ They’re picking up their phone and they’re going, ‘Wait, High School Musical?’ I’m aware that with a series called High School Musical: The Musical: The Series there will always be a portion of people who are like, ‘That’s a no for me, dawg.’ But I think there are enough people who are either amused by, alarmed by, or confused by the title who then realize the next big true pop stars are in the show and have begun sidling into it. Some of my favorite tweets are the many people who are like, ‘I started watching this show as a joke and now somehow I’m on episode 107.’”
And now is a superb time for brand new followers to hop on board. Whereas Season 1 largely revolved round staying true to the collection’ High School Musical roots, this season feels extra assured in changing into its personal factor. This might be felt in the whole lot from the collection’ enhance in authentic songs, to how this season focuses on the entire solid moderately than simply Nini (Rodrigo) and Ricky (Bassett).
“We came into Season 2 feeling like, what can we do better? What can we do bigger? But how can we stay true to our Waiting for Guffman, Christopher Guest roots?” Federle mentioned. (*2*)
This growth additionally meant exploring some heavier matters for the principle solid. “Ricky and EJ are less focused on themselves and their needs,” Bassett mentioned. “In Season 1, [they] were maybe not thinking about other people when they were doing what they were doing. Now there’s other people involved in their life… They’re learning how to be with other people and just grow up.”
“Learning that there’s more people in the world than themselves is a great, great note for both of them,” Cornett, who performs EJ, added. “They do have different journeys, but also the way that they kind of navigate those journeys are pretty similar. Just like Matt and I are very similar and navigate our own journeys in real life.”
But the most important change this season has to do with Julia Lester’s Ashlyn and Larry Saperstein’s Big Red. Last season Ashlyn and Big Red had been confined to the sidelines. Big Red was Ricky’s finest good friend and counsel; Ashlyn was the quiet woman enjoying Ms. Darbus. That modified with Season 1’s finale, which ended with the 2 sharing a candy kiss. This season ups the ante on their budding romance, making Ashlyn and Big Red’s relationship simply as vital as Nini and Ricky’s.
“The characters are going on this journey of self discovery, figuring out the things that make them happy and what they love and what their passions are. They bring out the best in each other and see the best in each other, which is really important for where they’re at in their lives,” Saperstein mentioned. “So it was wonderful to go on that journey and to be in that vulnerable state as Big Red and watch him grow a little bit through this relationship was really fun.”
“I was really excited to explore these two characters together because this season does such a great job of exploring who each character is as an individual. Getting to explore that side of things while also getting to explore who Big Red and Ashlyn are together as two people is really wonderful,” Lester mentioned. “The relationship is starting off on a really strong note with the beginning of Season 2.”
But simply because the manufacturing this season is Beauty and the Beast, don’t suppose you recognize the songbook. There might be loads of High School Musical 2 callbacks in addition to a ton of authentic songs. “I thought it would be really fun and funny for Josh to sing ‘Bet On It’ and to recreate some of Efron’s classic moves. There’s beautiful music in High School Musical 2 that was fun to reinvent as a more acoustic stripped down medley,” Federle revealed. “There’s only so many Vanessa Hudgens references you can make before it feels like all we’re doing is self promoting. So we wanted to flex and expand. But that is all to say you can’t do a High School Musical show without singing ‘You Are the Music in Me.’”
Likewise the unique music this season is just going to get extra formidable. Federle recalled that when he was engaged on Season 1, he although that High School Musical classics like “Stick to the Status Quo” could be those that might resonate essentially the most. That wasn’t the case. “What we actually found was ‘All I Want’, ‘Just for a Moment’, ‘Born to Be Brave’ — these songs really broke out. They got onto like a lot of depression and exercise playlists. So this season it was like, ‘Let’s push it even further.’ It’s more original songs, and it allows characters, surprising characters, guest actors, to flex their vocal chops as well. It allows a character like Sofia Wylie’s Gina to sing her own solo as she long overdo deserves to.”
“I’m just so excited for season two. I think that there’s just going to be so many surprises that people aren’t prepared for,” Lester mentioned.
“Bigger and better,” Saperstein added.
The first episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 2 premieres this Friday, May 14, on Disney+. New episodes will premiere on Disney+ Fridays.