The highly anticipated new season of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has officially landed on Disney+. The cast [Matt Cornett, Dara Reneé, Frankie A. Rodriguez, Joe Serafini, Julia Lester and Larry Saperstein ] joins Zack Tremblay for an exclusive interview to chat about everything from the success of their first season to the excitement of returning to Salt Lake City. Despite working through a challenging pandemic, the cast was in high spirits as they acknowledge their bond while filming the new season.
While reflecting on reuniting for another season, Dara admits, “It’s literally just like hanging out with your best friends. You go to work every day and you just have fun. It’s just an amazing environment and I’m so grateful that I get to work with such genuinely nice and talented people.” The talent this season was brought to a whole new level in every sense, from the acting to the new musical numbers. Julia shares, “I think we were all just really excited to see where this show could grow and where it could go with the storylines that can be stretched. So I think we were all kind of just itching for more. We love each other so deeply. It was so exciting to hear when we were coming back!” The viewers were definitely itching for more once the season finale hit and the cast was ready to jump back in and give the fans more!
Filming the second season definitely came with a few challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we all had to navigate through a new way of living, the cast still had to come together and deliver an escape for fans. Julia shares, “Our main priority coming back from the first big hiatus was to keep everybody safe and make sure that we were still creating a show that was just as amazing as season one but had healthy and safe actors and crew behind the scenes. There was adapting and changes that we had to become accustom to, in order to fulfill staying safe and healthy. From a show’s perspective, you can’t tell what was going on behind the scenes. If anything, I think that everything that we went through and that the world was going through, gives the show more heart and gave us a new appreciation for each other. I just think it’s better overall. Good things take time, so I think this season is going to be really great despite everything that went on.” Frankie continues, “I think the hardest thing is that something that felt so familiar to you, you now having to get use to it with this whole new safety protocol. But I guess that is what we were all going through. As difficult as it was, and as challenging as it was at times, it was kind of nice to know that everything that was good about filming pre-pandemic was still there. So just knowing that you were still going to have a good time, you were still going to laugh and be around these people, and the fact that we were able to do it at all, you really thank your stars.”
From the first season up until now, the cast has seen so much growth in each other. There is a special dynamic when this cast comes together and each of them have a moment to shine throughout the upcoming season. Joe reveals, “It was really special getting to watch each other grow. I think everyone really made big strides since we first started and everyone’s grown so much in to not only just more talented individuals but even just like more well rounded individuals as human beings. We’re all just growing and changing all the time, so getting to witness that in other people that we deeply respect and care about so much, it’s really awesome.” Dara continues, “I must say, the same with what Joe said, I love just watching everyone and learning from them. Everyone has such extraordinary talents and I just feel like I can learn great things from every single person on set.”
The core of High School Musical and what is represents, holds a special place in so many hearts. When the series first premiered, it really set the tone for what the fans have been searching for. The cast, writers and crew have done an incredible job honoring what the original films did and opened the gate for a whole new chapter. Joe admits, “I think the most rewarding thing and it’s going to sound redundant, it’s what Dara said earlier — learning from each other. I feel like this experience has taught me so much in so many ways. Not only just about being a better actor and performer, but also how to handle all of this. It’s such a different beast than things that I have done before. I feel like everyone here has each others back’s and really helps each other get through the tougher times. I think gaining this family and being able to lift each other up the way we do, I mean, it’s a really special thing.” High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is now streaming on Disney+.