Disney has decided to take a rather inventive approach for its new streaming service, Disney+. Rather than investing large amounts of resources in high-quality, original series; the media giant is going to stick to its guns and offer sequels/reinventions of some of its earlier series. It makes sense for Disney to opt for that route simply because they can. A Netflix or an Amazon Prime does not have the luxury of having produced tons of memorable shows or movies that viewers can be nostalgic about.
For instance, the fact that its banner has been behind the massively popular, ‘Star Wars’ series means that they can put in huge sums of money behind a high-quality television series set in that universe and rest somewhat assured of its success. ‘The Mandalorian,’ for instance, is Disney’s attempt at cashing in on the success of the science fiction franchise and one can pretty much expect the show to at least recover its production costs, if not make a huge profit.
Similarly, when Disney announced a television adaptation of the ‘High School Musical’ series, fans were unsurprisingly extremely excited. The trilogy’s first movie became the fastest selling television film of all time and the series propelled the careers of Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale amongst others.
Titled ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,’ has put together a cast of relatively inexperienced actors including Joshua Bassett and Olivia Rodrigo among many others who are expected to achieve commercial success like their predecessors. Instead of opting for a remake or an extension of the trilogy, Disney+ has created a rather creative premise for the new show.
Set in East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, it is a story about a school on whose campus the ‘High School Musical’ movies had been filmed. The new drama teacher at East High School believes that the school where the successful trilogy had been shot deserves a musical theatrical adaptation to celebrate its ties with the movies. As the students show high levels of excitement after the announcement, the competition to be included in the cast becomes rather fierce. Serving as the conflict-filled backdrop, the new production is not exactly the center-stage of the teenage web series. Instead a love triangle is sprinkled into the mix for bringing out the kind of plot that is successful with teenagers.
Ricky Bowen, a high school junior decides to take a break from his relationship with Nini, thinking that they both need space. Although Nini is against the idea, she has to accept it but manages to meet E.J. Casswell, played by Matt Cornett at theatre camp. When the two start dating, Ricky gets extremely taken aback and wants to win her back. To do so, he auditions for the role of Troy Bolton in the school’s musical production so that Nini might see him in a different light. However, when he gets the role and expects Nini to be impressed, she believes that he should give up for someone who is more interested in the project than him.
One might be wondering the location of this school where the trilogy, and now the series was filmed. Its campus will resonate with millions of viewers who are bound to be nostalgic about it thanks to the success of the movies that became quite a fad for a large number of teenagers in their pubescent years.
Salt Lake City, Utah
The ten-episode series has been filled entirely in Salt Lake City, Utah: a state that Disney has had a fruitful partnership with. Having filmed over 40 projects in Utah including ‘The Lone Ranger’ and ‘John Carter,’ Utah has been noted for its brilliant production crews and the lucrative incentives that it provides for filmmakers.
Just like the location of the movie trilogy, the series has also been filmed at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. The plot of the new series demanded that it be shot at the same campus since it is about a musical adaptation of the movie trilogy at a school where they had been filmed. The premise and the location are enough to fulfill the nostalgic expectations of the trilogy’s fans.
The partnership between Utah and Disney+ is bound to be a symbiotic one and was echoed by the Director of Utah Film Commission who commented that their attachment with the incredibly influential ‘High School Musical’ franchise will continue to be a point of pride for the state. The school’s iconic basketball court and cafeteria will be amongst the several nostalgic locations that fans will get the opportunity to relive once again with the series.
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