Disney Announces U.K. High School Musical Tour

News   Disney Announces U.K. High School Musical Tour Disney is taking the stage version of its hit TV movie "High School Musical" to the U.K. for a national tour beginning Jan. 23, 2008.

The original movie proved to be an unexpected hit when it premiered in the U.S. in 2006, becoming the highest rated Disney Channel movie and winning two Emmy Awards.

The movie also achieved an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first TV movie to deliver nine concurrent singles on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

The Disney Theatrical Productions stage version features a book by David Simpatico adapted from Peter Barsocchini's original screenplay. Jeff Calhoun (Grease and Big River, both on Broadway) will direct the show, which features a live orchestra and 34 performers.

The creative team also includes choreographer Lisa Stevens and designer Kenneth Foy. Twelve venues have been booked with more tour dates to be announced in September.

According to production notes, High School Musical follows the fortunes of "Troy, a popular high school basketball star, and Gabriella, a shy, academically gifted newcomer who discover they share a secret passion for singing. When they sign up together to audition for the lead roles in the school musical it threatens East High's rigid social order and sends their peers into uproar. In a desperate attempt to maintain the status quo, the 'jocks,' the 'brainiacs,' and even the drama club regulars, are soon hatching convoluted plots to separate the pair and keep them offstage. However, by defying expectations and taking a chance on their dreams, the couple inspire other students to go public with some surprising hidden talents of their own." In a statement Thomas Schumacher, President of Disney Theatrical Productions said, "It is a great joy and privilege for us to be able to produce and present Disney Channel's enormously popular property on stage. Our stage version of this great property has been mounted as a direct response to overwhelming demand. As someone who has been passionate about theatre since I was a kid, I am thrilled that we will be touring this remarkably popular title as a fully realized stage production, and most certainly introducing countless young people to the world of theatre for the very first time. You can't ask for more than that."

Casting for the show will be announced later this year.