Director: Kenny Ortega
Production Company: Disney Channel
Plot Summary: Troy and Gabriella are two very different teens who meet each other at a New Year's Eve karaoke event. Troy, one of the star players of the school's basketball team the Wildcats, has a secret love of singing, while Gabriella is a math whiz who is too shy to perform in front of others. At the New Year's Eve party, Troy and Gabriella sing and have an instant connection. It is only when Gabriella transfers into Troy's high school and they have the same home-room class that they meet once more. Auditions for the musical start causing waves throughout the school: from Troy's teammates who believe he is abandoning them, from the math club who want Gabriella to win the tournament for them, and the original musical stars who feel like they are being challenged.
Critical Evaluation: While the movie is made by Disney and thus has rather juvenile humor, the themes within the story are more suited for teens than preteens, especially the theme of trying to fit in by rejecting some aspect of the self. Both Troy and Gabriella, the main protagonists, have a comfortable niche that they have made in their teenage lives, with Troy as an athlete and Gabriella as an intellectual. That Troy and Gabriella breaking away from their stereotypes frees many other teens and allows them to admit their own quirks and hobbies. The villains of the movie were rather one-dimensional in comparison to the two protagonists, with little motive other than to continue ruling the musical. The ending of the movie was rather Disney-perfect but that was anticipated.
Reader's Annotation: Troy and Gabriella live worlds apart in their social circles and it is only when they are forced to sing a duet at a New Year's Party that they realize what they have been missing.
Information About the Director: Kenny Ortega is a California-born producer, director, and choreographer. Famous for the popular High School Musical series of Disney Musical movies, he has also directed This Is It. Ortega has also directed for the television series Ally McBeal and Gilmore Girls.
Follow Ortega's projects at his website.
Genre: Musical; High School Life; Sports; Romance
Curriculum Ties N/A
- Troy and Gabriella are brave individuals for leaving their comfort zone and trying something new, let alone being able to stand up and sing on stage while being uncomfortable doing so. What are other ways that you can do something new without going to that extent?
- How did the songs in the movie make the themes more accessible to the viewers through the lyrics and catchy beats? Or do you believe that the songs can take away from the themes by having the viewers distracted by the tune rather than concentrating on important dialog?
Viewing Level: 15+
Challenge Issues N/A
Why This Movie?: Emmy Award Winner
Ortega, K (Director). (2006). High School Musical [Motion picture]. USA: Disney Channel.