Making the Grades
What does the captain of the basketball team (Zac Efron) and an academically bright bookworm (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) have in common? According to this Disney Channel presentation, at least three things.
To begin with, both Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez celebrated New Years Eve at a party hosted by a ski lodge during a family vacation. Secondly, they are randomly chosen from a crowd of teenagers to participate in a Karaoke contest. Meeting for the first time on stage, the boy who usually only sings in the shower and the girl who fainted during a church choir recital discover that, third, they are very good vocalists and performing can be a lot of fun.
Nor is that all. Thanks to the magic of movie coincidences, when Gabriella's mother (Socorro Herrera) gets transferred to Albuquerque, the girl also finds herself enrolled in the same high school Troy is attending. The unexpected reunion happens in English class where their drama queen teacher (Alyson Reed) is urging her pupils to try out for an up-coming musical production.
Secretly, the two starry-eyed young adults would love to accept her tempting invitation. Yet each is afraid of what their peers will think if they pursue this newly discovered passion, which is so out of character for a jock and a brainiac. But some disparaging remarks from Sharpay and Ryan Evans (Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel), the over-confident brother and sister team who consider themselves the reigning monarchs of East High's theater scene, is enough competition to coax Troy and Gabriella out of the closet and onto center stage.
When word of their bold audition gets around campus, it severely upsets the status quo. In the ensuing chaos, a number of other students make startling revelations about their hidden interests, such as an athlete who loves to bake, a scholastic achiever who dances Hip Hop and a skateboarder who plays the cello. Scrambling to regain balance, the well-established cliques devise some covert operations hoping to get everybody back in their proper place.
Although this story about defying stereotypes is full of stereotypical players and plot points, the feel-good script, with just a hint of romance, still manages to provide plenty of toe-tapping entertainment for its intended audience. Frequently breaking into song and dance numbers (did you know basketball could be choreographed?), this made-for-TV movie captured a record number of viewers (aged 6-14), while the singles Breaking Free and Get'cha Head in the Game set records on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The DVD Encore Edition of High School Musical caters further to its fans by providing sing along lyrics and dancing instructions.
With the exception of a mild revenge theme, the fairy-tale like film about trying new things and developing a wide range of talents is sure to inspire any aspiring thespians that share dreams similar to these teens.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about High School Musical.
The movie depicts a rivalry between the high school’s arts and sports departments. Why do these disciplines sometimes battle for supremacy? Which, if either, do you think are important to a balanced education?
Why do Troy and Gabriella learn about friendship as they step outside of their usual circle of interests? What do their peers learn? What revelation does Troy’s father make about his desire to have his son succeed in sports? Do you think it is possible to explore a wide variety of interests and develop new talents?