High School Musical 3 was recently a hit in UK cinema screens, and the franchise’s sequel success looks set to be emulated on stage. Producers have just announced that High School Musical 2 Live on Stage! will receive its UK premiere this summer, opening at south London’s New Wimbledon Theatre on 22 August 2009 before embarking on a four-and-a-half month regional tour.

As with the series’ original screen-to-stage crossover (See News, 28 Jan 2008), High School Musical 2 Live on Stage! has a book by David Simpatico (adapted from the original movie script by Peter Barsocchini), and is directed by Jeff Calhoun, with scenic design by Kenneth Foy and choreography by Lisa Stevens. The score features all the songs from the film soundtrack, including “What Time Is It?”, “You Are the Music in Me” and “Fabulous”.

School’s out and the East High Wildcats need summer jobs! Troy, Gabriella, Taylor and Chad all land work at an exclusive country club, but it’s not going to be an easy ride as Ryan and Sharpay are vacationing there too. The scheming siblings, whose family owns the club, make it their mission to stir things up. The action builds to the club’s all-important Midsummer Night’s Talent Show, but will the Wildcats be ready in time?

Since its US premiere in January 2006, the original made-for-TV Disney movie High School Musical has spawned a global phenomenon, including myriad books, DVDs, CDs and games. The stage production of that first incarnation had its UK premiere in January 2008 in a touring show that opened to one of the largest box office advances in British touring history. A concurrent production had a sell-out London run last summer at the Hammersmith Apollo.

High School Musical 2 was first aired in September 2007 and has been seen by over 273 million people around the world, breaking viewing figure records anew. The 2008 cinematic version of High School Musical 3 had the largest opening weekend sales of any musical release ever.

High School Musical 2 Live on Stage! is produced in the UK by Stage Entertainment UK Ltd in association with Disney Theatrical Productions, and is supporting by The Co-operative Food. No casting has yet been announced.

Steve Fickinger, Disney Theatrical’s vice-president of licensing, said: “We at Disney are thrilled that the UK has so enthusiastically embraced the stage adaptation of High School Musical, and we can’t wait to share the continuing adventures of Troy, Gabriella, and all your favourite Wildcats with High School Musical 2.”

Bill Taylor, CEO of Stage Entertainment UK, added: “We are delighted to continue the partnership with our friends at Disney to bring the next part of the High School story to audiences in Britain and Ireland … I’ve never known an audience reaction like that which we experience at High School Musical shows, and we look forward to welcoming more people, young and old, for the second instalment.”

- by Terri Paddock