"High School Musical," a Smash on the Disney Channel, Will Get a Stage Version

News   "High School Musical," a Smash on the Disney Channel, Will Get a Stage Version Disney Theatrical Productions (DTP) announced April 6 that it will release a stage version of the Disney Channel's wildly successful TV musical, "High School Musical," for local productions beginning this fall.

The script and score, borrowed from the wildly popular Disney Channel movie will be modified for the stage (no librettist has been announced), and licensed via Music Theatre International (MTI).

Steve Fickinger, Disney Theatrical Productions vice president responsible for the DTP/MTI relationship, said, "The response to 'High School Musical' has been phenomenal. Television audiences are connecting with the show and its music on an unprecedented level. We wanted to make the rights available for local productions across the country."

"High School Musical" set viewership records when it debuted on the Disney Channel Jan. 20, 2006 and to date has been seen by over 30 million unique viewers.

Given the popularity of the title, it's not hard to imagine that there might be a professional tour-worthy production (not unlike Fame and Footloose) created in the future, but no such plan has been announced.

The soundtrack from Walt Disney Records has been platinum certified. It topped the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and was the No. 1 selling album on iTunes for three weeks. The single, "Breaking Free," made the largest jump in the 48-year history of the Billboard Hot 100, catapulting from No. 86 to No. 4 in just one week. Seven other singles from the soundtrack also debuted on the Hot 100. The soundtrack has also generated one platinum single ("Breaking Free"), and four gold singles ("What I've Been Looking For," "We're All in This Together," "Start of Something New" and "Get'cha Head in the Game").

The movie musical follows two unlikely high schoolers, jock Troy and brainiac Gabriella, as they audition for their high school musical — and fall in love. All this comes after they "meet cute" on vacation (performing as a duet in a karaoke contest) and she later turns up as the new girl in her high school.

Their competition for the show is a pair of preening drama club stars, Sharpay and Ryan, but — true to the family-friendly flavor of Disney — they all learn that teamwork, friendship and collaboration tastes better than sour grapes.

Broadway and film actress Alyson Reed (Cassie in "A Chorus Line," the movie, and a Tony Award nominee for 1988's Cabaret) turns up in the TV musical as the over-the-top, eccentric drama teacher, Ms. Darbus.

Kenny Ortega ("Newsies") directed the picture, which has a teleplay by Peter Barsocchini. The score, made up of new songs, is by a handful of writers. Song titles include "Bop to the Top," "What I've Been Looking For," "Stick to the Status Quo," "When There Was Me and You," "Start of Something New," "Get'cha Head in the Game" and "Breaking Free."

A TV sequel is reportedly in the works.

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Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions said, "I'm thrilled that we are able to have High School Musical join Beauty and the Beast, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, and our other Disney Collection titles available through MTI."

Developed through "a unique collaboration with Disney Theatricals, MTI's Musicals from the Disney Collection also includes musicals developed especially for students," according to Disney.

Aladdin Junior is a 60-minute show appropriate for middle-schoolers to perform. Cinderella Kids, 101 Dalmations Kids and The Jungle Book Kids are 30-minute stage versions of classic Disney films "aimed to introduce elementary school children to the joys of putting on a live musical."

"The response to The Disney Collection has been overwhelming," Schumacher said. "In fact, Disney's Beauty and the Beast was the most successful first-year licensing launch in history, and Disney's Aladdin Jr. has been performed by over 1,000 schools across the country."

More titles will be added to the Junior and Kids Collections in the coming year.

Those interested in licensing High School Musical may pre-register at www.disney.com/hsm or contact MTI about other Disney titles for local productions at www.mtishows.com.

For more information, visit www.disneychannel.com/highschoolmusical.

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