High School Musical on stage, on tour

High School Musical has taken to the stage with roaring success. Disney had always planned to license it for school/amateur productions, but when the property proved such a smash hit, they went ahead and expanded into professional production as well. The results thus far have been very positive. (The effort I’m expending not to type “duh” at the end of that sentence is substantial.)

But if Disney runs out of HSM-themed avenues, my offer of the synchronized swimming idea still stands. You know, just in case they need it.

It’s coming; High School Musical 2 ready to rock

a High School Musical sequel was coming this summer, it still seemed impossibly far away. But time marches onward, and “coming” now means “one week from today.”

Which means that it’s time for Those In The Know to start talking about how much money it might make.

Sure, we’ve talked before about Disney sequels and whether or not they’re valid standalone entertainment (answer: yes, sometimes), but High School Musical has really been its own beast right from the start. Nevertheless, there’s no overlooking the impact of being a sequel to a wildly popular film.

USA Today asks whether they can do it again, and jump right into the analysis:

“Sequels have a built-in audience. Some people will see one even if it stinks,” says Kirk Wakefield of Baylor University’s music and entertainment marketing program. “The key is whether it sustains, whether it is as good in quality.”

(On behalf of all of America, allow me to say: Duh.)

The discussion that follows runs the gamut, from the type of fans to earnings of the first movie. And then, of course, there’s the inevitable comparison of High School Musical to Grease. The money quote comes right at the end:

After seeing the What Time Is It video, Radio KOL’s Adams says HSM 2‘s prospects are bright. “If that’s anything to go by, it’s going to be even better than the first,” he says.

But one song does not a musical make, Adams adds, and a huge hit can create an even steeper path for a sequel.

Grease 2 wasn’t that good, was it?”

Oh yeah. Good point, that.

I’ll guess we’ll have to wait and see if they can do it again. Expectations are high, and soon we’ll know.

High School Musical redux in August

High School Musical? If you have a tween or teen daughter I bet you have. It’s been one of the “it” movies of the last year, spinning off a frenzy of adoration, an unholy amount of karaoke, CDs, DVDs, a concert tour, and even an ice show. Disney knows how to milk a property for all its worth, and so the following news should come as a surprise to no one.

Why settle for just the original? Come August, High School Musical 2 will debut on the Disney Channel:

All the stars return from the first hit movie to participate in a summer extravaganza at a posh country club. Troy (Zac Efron) lands a job at the Albuquerque club and then maneuvers a lifeguard position for Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) to join him, little knowing that diva Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) wants to keep them apart.

The rest of the East High Wildcats — Chad, Taylor, Zeke, Martha, Kelsi and Jason — also join in the fun and are gearing up for the Midsummer Night’s Talent Show, in which Troy and Gabriella may just score a winning duet, unless Sharpay can stop them. Other returning cast members include Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman, Olesya Rulin, KayCee Stroh and Ryne Sanborn.

The Emmy Award-winning Kenny Ortega returns as director.

Okay, to me this sounds an awful lot like the teacher from Charlie Brown (“Waa waa waawaa waa waa”), but my children and their friends assure me that this is very big news. (These are, incidentally, the same kids who are convinced they need to dance around on my living room couches and belt the lyrics out into hairbrushes, so… consider the sources, I guess.)

I’m actually more interested in the last bit of this article, which says:

Already another sequel, “Haunted High School Musical,” has been planned, but this time for a 2008 theatrical release.

That sounds like something that may just be so delightfully campy I will love it in spite of myself. I mean, it would have to be, right? Like, the big question will be whether Troy can enunciate enough even while wearing plastic vampire teeth, and whether Gabriella can sing loudly enough through her mummy bandages?

No? Awwww, c’mon.

Anyway, mark your calendars for August 17th. That’s the night your kids will be begging to stay up late to watch High School Musical 2.

Taking the good and making it… more slippery

It seems like just yesterday that I was musing about taking good movies and retooling them for the stage, and how it seemed to me like the transition between the two mediums must be sort of difficult. Okay, it wasn’t yesterday, but just a few days ago. And that’s long been the formula for bigger-and-better success when it comes to a good piece of entertainment: If it works one way, do it another.

So I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that High School Musical is heading to the ice rink.

But I have a confession to make. I don’t get it. I know this is a common thing for Disney productions, to become an ice extravaganza. And I know people love them. But I don’t see the appeal. Heck, I can’t even sit through the commercials for most of the Disney On Ice spectaculars without wondering how a person actually skates while wearing a big puffy dog costume, or whatever.

What makes it so magical to do it on the ice? Is the added dimension of wondering whether the actors might fall on their behinds so intriguing?

Oh well. When the excitement of Fill In The Blank On Ice wanes, they’ll need a new gimmick. I’d like to suggest they stick with the water theme, but change it up a little bit. High School Musical At Sea? High School Musical Synchronized Swimmers? I really think there’s an untapped market out there.

And Disney? Feel free to use my excellent ideas, free of charge. Consider it my gift to you. No need to thank me.