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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is a quirky spin-off of the original High School Musical franchise. It has lots of goofy, funny moments, as well as musical and dance performances. But there's also some teen drama, ranging from romantic relationships to jealous rivalries and characters who attempt to sabotage each other. It's mild enough for older tweens, with romantic content limited to kissing and innocent comments about being "in love." Very rarely, words like "crap" are said, and a bleeped curse is used for comedic effect.
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What's the story?
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES, a spin-off of the popular High School Musical franchise, follows the East High drama club as they put on their school's first ever production of High School Musical for the fall show. It's the beginning of the semester, and after asking for a summer break in their relationship, Ricky (Joshua Bassett) returns from his time off to find girlfriend Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) back from theater camp dating fellow camper E.J. (Matt Cornett). To win Nini back, Ricky auditions for the musical, with his loyal friend Big Red (Larry Saperstein) in tow. He manages to impress Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders), the new drama teacher, and Carlos (Frankie A. Rodriguez), the student choreographer. He soon finds himself working with Nini, E.J., and other eclectic theater types, including Nini's best friend Kourtney (Dara Reneé), E.J.'s cousin Ashlyn (Julia Lester), and transfer student Gina (Sofia Wylie). As they rehearse, they must learn to find ways to constructively work together in order to put on a great show. Miss Jenn is enthusiastic, but straight-laced STEM teacher Mr. Mazzara (Mark St. Cyr) doesn't think high school musical theater is worth their time or efforts.
Is it any good?
This musical comedy offers an edgier, documentary-style series that's inspired by the original movie, and which just happens to take place at the same high school where the film took place 13 years ago. The result is a show that's nostalgic but makes room for a quirkier, contemporary story world that's full of lots of on- and offstage theatrical drama, ranging from new friendships, budding romance, and, of course, some strong rivalries. But in between these antics is an obvious statement that strongly supports the performing arts at a time when art initiatives are losing funding and STEM is being prioritized in schools across the country. Fans of the original movies will find this venture quite different from what they remember, but High School Musical: The Musical: The Series gives a new generation of tween viewers a fun, entertaining series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about high school theater. Parents: Did you participate in school plays or musicals when you were a teenager? Kids: Are there opportunities for you to participate in the performing arts at your school?
What are some of the specific ways the creators of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series are adapting the concepts and themes from the original films for today's tween viewers? Are the changes positive ones?
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