The singing and dancing teenagers of East High School are back for a tune-filled last hurrah as they get set to graduate and move on with their lives. It is their third movie, but the first to make the leap from television to the big screen as a theatrical feature film. Alan Silverman has this look at High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
Their young fans all over the world know that these kids love to sing. They HAVE to sing: whether it's fighting down to the final buzzer to win the big basketball game for the East High 'Wildcats'.
… or dressing up to dance at the formal prom … or wondering if teenage love can last forever.
Zac Efron, returns for a third High School Musical turn as sports hero and heartthrob Troy Bolton.
"We had two movies as background, so our characters are pretty established by now," Efron says. "We didn't have to do as much character building as much as just finishing, essentially; and we had the ability to actually reminisce, which is what you are seeing in 'The Boys Are Back.' We've never been able to do that before."
The girls are back for High School Musical 3, especially Vanessa Hudgens as Gabriella Montez.
"I really love my character," Hudgens says. "She is this strong, positive young woman who is always fighting for the right things. She is a fun character to play … and I am a happy person as well, so it's always easy to put a smile on your face."
Gabriella and Troy smile at each other a lot as sweethearts; and in this fantasy version of high school, their teen love is expressed through song lyrics and dance numbers.
In a nod to the popularity of hit TV shows like Dancing With The Stars, Hudgens says she and Efron have a big (and romantic) ballroom number.
"It was the most difficult dance that I've had to do throughout these three movies," she admits. "I've taken jazz and tap and hip-hop, but nothing could have ever prepared me for doing the waltz [and] the lifts we do, the turns we do … It was a lot, but it is kind of a throwback, so classic and so classy. It's so sweet and romantic that it actually turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the movie and I'm really proud. Zac does an amazing job as well."
It is senior year, so with graduation the main characters are moving on to university and what awaits them in the world beyond high school. Corbin Bleu co-stars as Troy's lifelong best friend Chad.
"The final scene in the movie was actually the final scene that we shot and for us to actually have the curtain closing on these characters, their lives and high school was very similar," Bleu says. "It was art mimics life. We were all up on stage and reminiscing over these past three years. This was the same stage where we experienced so many creative breakthroughs with each other and friendships. It was a very emotional time."
Zac Efron agrees with that 'graduation' feeling all the veteran cast members had in this third - and last - High School Musical.
"We were standing on the stage watching the curtain close and this is where it all began for us. That's where it all started," Efron reminisces. "It was symbolic of our journey. We've come a long way as 'Wildcats' but even more as individuals.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year also features Ashley Tisdale as heartbreaker Sharpay. Lucas Grabeel is her artistic twin brother Ryan. Monique Coleman plays class genius Taylor; and Russian-born Olesya Rulin is the musical prodigy Kelsi. Kenny Ortega, who directed and choreographed the first two, is also at the helm for High School Musical 3.