The stakes at Camp Shallow Lake are heating up as Frozen rehearsals get underway in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series season 3. Kourtney and Gina have nabbed the leads of Elsa and Anna, allowing these besties to become sisters! Understandably, there is a lot of pressure that comes with being the lead. Dara Reneé spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife about how Kourtney is dealing with some anxiety, something Dara can relate to personally.
“I feel like one thing that I really appreciated, especially this season, it gives an honest perspective towards it,” Dara told HollywoodLife. “I got to put a little bit of my experience and my experience with doing shows with anxiety because it’s kind of like a whole different battle and a different warzone. But I feel like we are going to show a lot of things that happen to a lot of people who are performers that do deal with anxiety.”
She added, “I’m really excited for people to not only see it and relate but to see little ways to maybe feel better in this moment and know that it may happen right now, but if we just continue to push through it, then it’s not going to be as hard next time. Or even if it is hard, you’re going to get through it, and you’re going to make it to the other side.”
Kourtney navigating her anxiety while away at Camp Shallow Lake allows her to be a bit more “understanding” of Maddox, who hasn’t had the easiest time becoming friends with the Wildcats. “Maddox is in a new space. She’s with a bunch of people she doesn’t know. She’s just trying to fit in which a lot of us, especially that age, are trying to do,” Dara noted.
In the past two seasons, different characters have had their chance to shine in the school musicals. Dara admitted that she feels “so grateful” that Kourtney gets this moment to really shine. “I mean, being able to work with so many amazing cast members and being able to play a role that I grew up watching and who has such legendary songs and songs that I practice my voice with, and to be able to actually display that on TV and to be one of the first televised Black Elsas, that’s crazy,” Dara said. “I’m really grateful for this opportunity, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to do it with.”
Kourtney is also going ~into the unknown~ with Gina as Elsa. Dara revealed she is thrilled to share the spotlight with co-star Sofia Wylie. “To finally see Gina and Kourtney as the lead, it’s so cool. It’s so needed right now. I mean, not only for representation, but I mean, it’s just a cool thing to see all the new tricks and things we do coming up,” Dara teased. “I couldn’t have asked for a better person to do it with. She’s literally the best, sweetest, just pure angel in the world.”
On top of Kourtney getting the lead, Dara wrote her first song for the show. The actress admitted that she had been making “little jokes” to showrunner Tim Federle about writing a song for HSMTMTS. “He put me with a great group of people. He was like, okay, let’s see what happens. It was my first writer session. It was my first everything, and it was just such a cool introduction to the music world. I can’t wait for people to see what we created,” Dara said.
The Wildcats aren’t just dealing with the highs and lows of getting a musical production ready for opening night at Camp Shallow Lake. High School Musical alum Corbin Bleu (who is playing himself) is also filming a documentary of the Camp Shallow Lake production.
Since this is HSMTMTS, there is already no shortage of drama. Ricky showed up unexpectedly just as EJ and Gina’s “perfect summer” was getting underway. With EJ consumed with the musical, Gina and Ricky have grown closer. HollywoodLife asked Dara if Kourtney is going to take notice of this love triangle that’s brewing. “Listen, let me tell you something. I can’t say too much on that. I can’t say too much because I don’t want to get fired, so I will say this: there’s going to be a lot of juice,” Dara teased.