‘High School Musical’ premiered on Disney Channel 15 years ago today, and our lives have never been the same. The DCOM was a launching pad for the careers of Zac Efron and more. Take a look at the cast then and now.
High School Musical was just one of many Disney Channel Original Movies when it premiered on Jan. 20, 2006. However, no one knew that the movie would become a worldwide phenomenon. Viewers fell in love with Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, and more. The first movie was so popular it spawned a trilogy, a live tour, and a hit Disney+series. In the 15 years since the very first High School Musical movie was released, the stars of the DCOM have changed so much.
Zac Efron, 33, danced on that basketball court 15 years ago as Troy Bolton and became an instant heartthrob. The end of his Disney Channel days saw Zac grow from shaggy-haired teenager Troy Bolton into a bonafide sex symbol. While Zac starred in the short-lived series Summerland before High School Musical, it was the DCOM that made him a household name. He’s starred in a wide genre of films, from blockbusters like Baywatch, comedies like Neighbors, epics like The Greatest Showman, and even had a turn as a serial killer in the drama Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. He recently starred in the Netflix documentary series Down to Earth with Zac Efron.
Over the years, he dated a bevy of beauties, including his co-star Vanessa Hudgens, 31! The couple broke up in 2010. Zac is now dating Australian model Vanessa Valladares, 33. They met at a cafe that Vanessa was working at while Zac was in Australia and were spotted together in Sept. 2020. Since then, they’ve become inseparable.
Vanessa Hudgens, 32, who played Gabriella Montez, skyrocketed to fame after High School Musical as well. She enjoyed a short-lived career as a pop star (“Sneakernight”, anyone?) and won acclaim for her role as a party girl turned criminal in Spring Breakers. More recently, she showed off her impressive singing chops in two televised musicals: Grease Live! and Rent: Live. Vanessa has become the go-to girl for holiday films, starring in Netflix holiday films like The Princess Switch and The Knight Before Christmas. Vanessa dated actor Austin Butler from 2011 to 2019 and is now head over heels for MLB star Cole Tucker.
The original cast of High School Musical reunited via Zoom in April 2020 to perform “We’re All In This Together.” Vanessa, Ashley Tisdale, 35, Corbin Bleu, 31, Lucas Grabeel, 36, Monique Coleman, 40, and HSM director Kenny Ortega, 70, came together to provide some joy on the Disney Family Singalong. They were joined by the High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and Zac, but he did not sing the HSM hit. Click through the gallery above to check out how far the stars of High School Musical, including Zac and Vanessa, have come since their High School Musical days!