Most of us saw at least one of the High School Musical movies growing up. If you didn’t see the movie, you probably at least heard some of the songs. Do the titles “What Time Is It?,” “Bop to the Top,” “Get’cha Head In the Game,” and “We’re All in This Together” ring any bells? Those are only a few of the most iconic songs from the movies (and they’re all so catchy, just reading over the titles will get them stuck in your head- we’re sorry).
High School Musical originally came out in 2006, but the franchise continued for a short while after. Sequels came out in both 2007 and 2008, and the musical was made for the theatre back in 2007 (and is still produced and toured around the nation today). The franchise ended with High School Musical 3: Senior Year, where the students graduated high school and went on to more important things.
They’re growing up fast; not to say they were all that young when they starred in the movie. Leads Zac Efron (Troy Bolton) and Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella Montez) were both 18 when they got their roles, a bit old to really be sophomores in high school. So where have the actors gone since they said their goodbyes? They’re not “all in this together” anymore, but are their heads still in the acting game? Let’s find out. Here’s what the stars of High School Musical have been up to since their final bows.
10. Chris Warren Jr.
Chris Warren Jr. played Troy’s teammate Zeke Baylor (who is also known for his penchant for baking and his admiration for Sharpay). He’s still acting occasionally, when offered roles as series regulars: he played Patterson in The Hard Times of RJ Berger, and he still plays the role of Ty Hensdale on ABC Family’s The Fosters. Chris Warren Jr. is the son of soap opera actress Brooke Kerr and former Seattle Seahawks football player Chris Warren Sr. Coming from a family that’s always been in some measure of the spotlight, Chris has done a surprisingly good job of keeping his nose out of trouble. Perhaps he’s lucky to have landed on a show with such high moral values (The Fosters); maybe that’s what’s keeping him in line. His next project is slated for release soon: Romance in the Digital Age, where he plays Marcellus.
9. Monique Coleman
Monique Coleman played Taylor McKessie, one of Gabriella’s friends and the center of Chad’s affections. Currently thirty-six, Monique was one of the oldest cast members at the time of High School Musical (twenty-six, when the movie was released). She’s been married to Walter Jordan since 2012. But what has she been up to in her professional life since High School Musical ended? She’s still acting, but she’s left the Disney scene with no intention to return. She’s a regular on Here We Go Again (Kayla), a show about parenting, and on The Fourth Door (Lain), a science fiction show. She’s also gotten plenty more film work under her belt, as in the cases of Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (Robin) and Free the Nipple (Roz). She has two upcoming releases: the first, the movie We Are Family (Elise); the second, a short called Distortion which is about distorted self-perceptions.
8. Corbin Bleu
Corbin Bleu played another basketball player in High School Musical, Chad Danforth, Troy’s best friend and Taylor’s admirer. His character was reluctant to a change in the status quo, but eventually realized they were “all in this together.” He was only seventeen when High School Musical came out and, though he had plenty of acting experience under him before he “got his head in the game,” he’s gotten plenty more work under him since then. He’s done some more work with Disney, as in the cases of his appearances on Hannah Montana (Johnny Collins), Phineas and Ferb (Coltrane), and The Fosters (Mercutio). He’s gotten more regular work on the shows The Beautiful Life (Isaac/Taylor) and One Life to Live (Jeffrey King). He’s got a movie that will be released later this year, Ovid and The Art of Love, in which, playing the main character, he takes audiences on a journey of appreciation through Ovid’s masterful poetry.
7. Lucas Grabeel
Lucas Grabeel plays Ryan Evans, Sharpay’s much slower and simpler twin brother who is easily pushed around, though he goes along with Sharpay’s manipulative plans, he rarely really understands what he’s doing. As one of the more prominent cast members from High School Musical, he earned himself a fair amount of success after the franchise ended. He’s had roles in some pretty big name projects, including Milk (Danny Nicoletta), Smallville, Sheriff Callie’s Wild Wild West, Family Guy, and Switched at Birth (and, of course, he was in the brief spin-off of High School Musical, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure). His most consistent work can be found in Family Guy and Switched At Birth, an ABC Family show with more strong moral values. Though he’s getting plenty of consistent work on shows as a regular guest star, he doesn’t have any new projects coming up soon.
6. Ashley Tisdale
Ashley Tisdale has done very well for herself since High School Musical ended. She played Sharpay, the self-loving drama queen of the school. After High School Musical ended, she got a small spin-off with Lucas Grabeel doing Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure. Since then, she’s been a regular on many television shows, including Phineas and Ferb, Hellcats, Sons of Anarchy, Super Fun Night, Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch, Young and Hungry, and Clipped. She’s also starred in several movies and worked with more big name actors, including Scary Movie Five with Charlie Sheen. Later this year her newest movie will be released: Amateur Night, which is about Jason Biggs’ character driving around hookers (Tisdale’s character, Fallon, included) to make money. Soon after, she’ll play the voice of Cinderella in an animated movie about three fairy tale princesses marrying the same prince. She’s still keeping very busy- High School Musical gave her more fame than she’d ever expected.
5. Zac Efron
Zac Efron played the lead character Troy Bolton in High School Musical, the school jock turned soft and romantic by theatre and a gorgeous woman. However, since High School Musical, his career has erupted in ways he never would’ve imagined. Efron came from a simple family with no connections in the film industry- it’s practically unheard of that a son of a secretary and electrician would succeed in today’s film industry! Some of his biggest hits since High School Musical include 17 Again, The Lorax, The Lucky One, That Awkward Moment, Neighbors, and Dirty Grandpa. Of course, he’s got a few releases on the horizon, too. The Disaster Artist, about the cult classic The Room, will be released later this year. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising will also be released this year. Perhaps most exciting is Baywatch, which will come out next year; he’ll be playing lifeguard Matt Brody.
4. Vanessa Hudgens
Vanessa played the other lead, Gabriella, in High School Musical. She has done some remarkable things since she left Disney. In fact, she just starred as Rizzo in Grease: Live. Perhaps most impressive about her performance was that her father passed away only hours before the show aired and she pressed on. She’s an actress that’s passionate about her work!
That’s not to say she’s entirely serious. Just consider some of her most popular films: Sucker Punch (Blondie), Spring Breakers (Candy), Machete Kills (Cereza), and Beastly (Lindy). Definitely nothing too serious, and most of it built on exploiting her looks and body.
3. Olesya Rulin
Olesya Rulin played the role of Kelsi Nielson in High School Musical, the composer, pianist, and sweetheart that is bossed around by Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) until she works up the gumption to stand up for herself and become more of a character than an archetype. So what’s she been up to more recently? This Moscow native is still cashing in on her youthful look. She had a regular role, Abby, on Greek, the ABC show about college Greek life depicting the typical party and needless drama filled lives of sorority and fraternity sisters and brothers. She’s also got a regular role on the show Powers, which is about superheroes and the crimes they commit; unfortunately for Olesya, she doesn’t get to play a superhero. Instead she plays Calista Secor, a wannabe superhero. Her latest appearance was on The Night Shift, where she played Maya in an episode involving sniper terrorist attacks.
2. Alyson Reed
Alyson Reed played the role of Ms. Darbus, the stern but caring drama teacher at the high school. Alyson has been acting for 31 years, and she’s most well-known for her work in High School Musical as well as her debut role in A Chorus Line in 1985 where she played Cassie. These days, she takes work where she can get it, frequently snagging guest star roles in some of the most popular shows on television, including Modern Family, Major Crimes, Silicon Valley, Grey’s Anatomy, and Bones. She’s also done a bit of voice acting for popular video games like Diablo 3, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, and Guild Wars 2. She stays very busy, perhaps busier than many of the actors that played her students in the High School Musical movies. It doesn’t look like Alyson is planning on retiring anytime soon!
1. Bart Johnson
Bart Johnson played Jack Bolton in High School Musical, main character Troy Bolton’s father as well as the coach of the basketball team. He’s been married to actress Robyn Lively for seventeen years and they have three children that occupy a lot of his time. He’s still acting, though! He’s a series regular on Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street, where he acts alongside his wife Robyn. He’s starred in several smaller budget movies that are lesser known, including Saints and Soldiers: The Void, Locker 13, and Rachel’s Return. However, he’s more commonly seen in made for television movies like A Date to Die For, Perfect on Paper, and The Christmas Spirit. His next announced role will be Kevin O’Malley in Lundon’s Bridge and the Three Keys, a family-friendly movie about magic. He’s still working plenty, just smaller projects than High School Musical.