- “High School Musical” was released in 2006 and the stars have since starred in movies and shows.
- Zac Efron is now a true movie star and played Ted Bundy in a 2019 Netflix movie.
- Vanessa Hudgens starred in the 2020 Netflix romantic comedy “The Princess Switch: Switched Again”.
- Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.
January 20, 2006 disney channel created “Musical High School. “The film centered on a jock (played by then unknown Zac Efron) fall in love with a shy and smart girl named Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) and breaking standards during auditions for the school musical.
Rousing tracks and perfectly synchronized choreography allowed the film to be viewed by millions of people across the country, and the soundtrack became the best-selling album of 2006. The success also led to two sequels and a new Disney Plus series titled “High School Musical: The Musical” with a new generation of actors.
Read on to see what the cast has been up to in the 15 years since “HSM” released.
Zac Efron played the role of Troy Bolton.
He was the most popular guy in East High, as good at singing as he was at playing basketball. Troy fell in love with Gabriella after meeting her at a ski resort and reluctantly teaming up for karaoke.
Efron stars in a Netflix travel series called “Down to Earth With Zac Efron”.
Since “HSM”, Efron has shown his fluid movements as Link Larkin in the 2007 movie “Hairspray”. He has also directed R-rated films like “This Awkward Moment”, “Neighbors”, “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. The actor also voiced the character of Gary in the Facebook Watch animated series “Human Discoveries”.
He played actual serial killer Ted Bundy in the 2019 Netflix movie “Extremely Wicked, Insanely Evil, and Vile”.
Gabriella Montez was performed by Vanessa Hudgens.
Gabriella was one of the smartest students in her class. She was shy, but showed her fun side every time she took the stage for a performance.
Hudgens has made a name for herself as an actress and singer.
She hit Broadway with the lead role in the musical “Gigi,” which ran for a few months in 2015. The actress also sang and danced as Rizzo in “Grease Live!”, Starred in the short sitcom NBC’s run of “Powerless,” and was a judge on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance”.
These days, Hudgens stays busy on and off screen. She appeared on the big screen in two films released in 2018, “Dog Days” with Nina Dobrev and “second act” with Jennifer lopez, and starred in the Netflix thriller “Polar”.
She also played Maureen Johnson in Fox’s “Rent: Live”.
Hudgens played two roles in the Netflix Christmas movie “The Princess Switch”. In the 2020 sequel titled “The Princess Switch: Switched Again,” the actress portrayed three different characters. She starred in another holiday movie for the streaming service called “The knight before Christmas.“
Ashley Tisdale played the villainous Sharpay Evans.
Sharpay liked attention and didn’t appreciate people who were also talented artists.
Ashley Tisdale is now an actress, singer, beauty founder and executive producer.
Before “HSM”, Tisdale was already Disney Channel royalty for her role as Maddie in “The sequel life of Zack and Cody.” She continued to play the girl at the Tipton Hotel’s candy counter until the show ended in 2008 and voiced the character of Candace in “Phineas and Ferb”.
The singer has released two albums (in 2007 and 2009) and also released her third studio album, titled “Symptoms”, in May 2020.
The actress also dove into beauty with the creation of Brightening Cosmetics in 2016.
Most recently, Tisdale starred as Jenny Kenney on the CBS sitcom “Carol’s Second Act” and Kayla in Netflix’s “Merry Happy Something”.
Lucas Grabeel played Sharpay’s brother Ryan Evans.
He was constantly forced to participate in stratagems with his fraternal sister. But Chad gained a new sense of respect for Ryan after dancing to a baseball-themed routine in the sequel.
After “HSM”, Grabeel continued to voice characters on popular television shows.
You may have recognized the actor’s voice on shows like “Elena of Avalor” and “Family Guy”. He also voiced a hot dog on the Nickelodeon and Netflix show “Pinky Malinky”.
Additionally, he starred as Toby Kennish in the drama series “Switched at Birth” and appeared on Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2014.
On the fringes, Grabeel is part of a folk-rock group called Midnight Holler.
When Grabeel teamed up with Tisdale in 2017 to sing “What I’ve Been Looking For” (popularized by the first film “HSM”) the former costars have revealed a surprising detail about their relationship.
“We weren’t close,” Tisdale recalls. “We weren’t good friends, let’s be honest.”
Grabeel added that they “did not go off on the right foot”, but today they love each other.
Troy’s winger Chad Danforth was played by Corbin Bleu.
“I kept the one that said, ‘I love waffles,'” he added.
Blue has become a Broadway star.
He has appeared in productions of “In the Heights”, “Godspell” and “Holiday Inn”. Blue returned to Broadway in 2019 cover of “Kiss Me, Kate!”
The actor was also a finalist for season 17 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and has released two albums.
He has appeared in episodes of “Castle”, “The Good Wife”, “The Fosters”, “Chicago Med” and “Supergirl”.
In 2016, Blue married actress Sasha Clements.
Monique Coleman played the role of Taylor McKessie.
Taylor was the leader of the East High School Decathlon team and was selected as the activities coordinator at Lava Springs.
Coleman is now using his platform to empower others.
Apart his Instagram be filled with inspiring messages, Coleman was named the very first United Nations ‘Youth Champion’ for his efforts to improve the lives of young people.
She is too a “Champion” for Girl Up, an organization that strives to help young women become leaders.
Like Blue, the actress took part in “DWTS”. She competed in 2006 and finished in fourth place. Coleman still remains good friends with Bleu and sat down to interview him for an episode of his talk show, “Give me Mo.The actress also landed a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2019 for hosting “Gimme Mo”.
Speaking to Insider for the 15th anniversary of “HSM”,Coleman said she “went years without working” afterwards and “really struggled to find my voice as an artist.”
She flourished and found purpose through philanthropy and Gimme Mo Youth, which started as a non-profit organization but now extends to all facets of youth empowerment.
Coleman said her faith and her reliance on philanthropy helped “found” her and make her feel like she’s done “something big” outside of her work as an artist.
In her personal life, she married Walter Jordan in 2012, lived in New York and “recognized that I always wanted to make sure that the dreams that I have as an artist come true”.
Coleman will continue to empower young people with a children’s book she has in the works. She also wants to play a superhero (like DC Comics’ Vixen or Bumblebee) “more than anything.”
“Since ‘Black Panther’ I’ve finally been able to really make a place for myself and not necessarily in this franchise, but in general there is so much room for more faces,” said Coleman. “And I really want to be one of them and tell a really cool story.”
Songwriter and pianist Kelsi Nielsen was played by Olesya Rulin.
She wrote the song “You Are the Music in Me” for Troy and Gabriella.
Rulin maintains a blog where she answers questions from fans, shares wellness and beauty tips, and writes about fashion.
Most recently, the actress starred in the TV movie “Devious Nanny”. She has also appeared on shows like “SEAL Team”, “The Night Shift”, “NCIS” and “The Mentalist”.
She’s pretty close to Coleman and thanked her to “encourage me and show me my own potential.” While helping young people around the world to achieve their dreams.