1. The origins for High School Musical come from a 1999 script meant to be Grease 3.
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were to star as the children of Danny and Sandy. The plot was basically the same as that High School Musical, but with more ties to Grease. Sharpay was intended to be the daughter of Betty Rizzo (producers tried to get Christina Aguilera for the part, but she declined). They wanted Timberlake’s bandmates from *NSYNC to have supporting roles. John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John were allegedly approached for cameo roles.
2. Zac Efron was actually not the singing voice for Troy Bolton, Drew Seely was.
Producers wanted Troy to be a tenor, but Zac’s voice was too deep, so Drew did 90% of Troy’s singing in the film and he went on the HSM concert tour in place of Zac. You can notice Zac singing during these moments: the first four lines of “Start of Something New,” the first sentence of “Breaking Free,” and during the scene on the balcony at Gabriella’s house.
3. The movies were all actually shot at East High School in Salt Lake City, UT.
And Sharpay’s pink locker is still there, for students to continue to use. Fabulous!
4. The mascot was originally supposed to be a leopard, but was later changed to a wildcat.
“What team? Leopards!” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
5. It took five weeks to film High School Musical 2. It took 6 days (so roughly 1/5 the filming time) to film Zac Efron’s solo “Bet On It”.
6. In HSM 3, Gabriella has a photo of her and Troy from their lunch at the golf course in High School Musical 2 on her nightstand.
Troy has a photo of Gabriella from High School Musical on his.
7. In the third film, Sharpay’s ringtone is “Fabulous” from High School Musical 2 and Gabriella’s ringtone is “You Are The Music In Me”.
8. Lucas Grabeel apparently pushed for Ryan to come out as gay in High School Musical 3.
However, being a Disney film, the prospect of an openly gay character was shot down quickly. In that film, a romantic relationship between Ryan and Kelsi is implied, so we all know where Disney stands in that situation.
9. Disney Channel viewers got to vote for what Disney Channel Star they wanted to make a cameo in HSM 2 and they chose Miley Cyrus.
She was in the end sequence “All For One,” but if you never caught that cameo it’s because it’s only four seconds long.
10. During the final performance of High School Musical 3, Sharpay does a jazz square while singing.
This was a direct reference to High School Musical, calling back to the scene where Sharpay and Ryan are performing ‘”What I’ve Been Looking For”, Sharpay scolded Ryan for doing an unrehearsed jazz square, to which he replies, “It’s a crowd favorite; everyone loves a good jazz square.”
11. Corbin Bleu had intended to audition as Ryan Evans, but when he saw Lucas Grabeel dancing at the audition, he said that can’t shake like Lucas can, and Ryan had to shake.
12. Before HSM 2, Monique Coleman had never swam.
She actually had a fear of the water. For the scene where her character jumps into the pool, the script was rewritten for her dancing partner, Corbin Bleu, to jump in with her.
13. Zac Efron made $3 million for HSM 3, where Vanessa Hudgens only made $2 million. Ashley Tisdale lucked out and snatched up $2.8 million.
14. Ashley Tisdale originally auditioned for the role of Gabriella Montez.
However, director Kenny Ortega thought she would do better in the role of Sharpay Evans.
15. The piano that Kelsi is playing in while Troy and Gabriella are singing “You Are the Music in Me” costs $25,000.
16. In the first film, one of the players on the Wildcats in the championship game wore a jersey with the word “extra” on the back.