It was just another year at East High School in Albuquerque, N.M., and winter break had finally arrived. One of the East High students was taking a much-needed vacation at a ski resort with his family and, after the duet of a lifetime, his life would never be the same. It was at that ski resort that basketball star Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) would meet Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens). Though from different worlds, fate would have it that Gabriella would inevitably move to Albuquerque. Thus began the infamous ‘High School Musical” journey.

In the first installment, we are introduced to Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), who is constantly hogging the spotlight in East High’s theater department, and Ryan Evans (Lucas Grabeel) who is always at his sister’s side. The stereotypical basketball jock is exemplified by Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu), and it would not be high school without the class brainiac, Taylor McKessie (Monique Coleman). Can Gabriella start a new life in a new school? Can Troy have a life that consisted of basketball and music? Will Troy and Gabriella become the next perfect Disney couple? The year comes to a close with the spring musical, when the time arrives for our friends to make their summer plans.

Well, what do you know? In the summer, everyone happens to be hanging out at the exact same place. Gabriella takes a job as a lifeguard at the local country club, and Troy, Chad, Taylor and few other musical buddies work in the kitchen. The Evans siblings do not work, and Sharpay makes sure to stay extra fabulous. Sharpay, the clever manipulator, tries to break up the Troy-Gabriella love affair by introducing Troy to her parents, who can help make his basketball dreams come true. Though close, Sharpay fails again and the East High students sing their way through summer, ending with Troy and Gabriella sharing their first kiss.

On Friday, Oct. 24, the world watched as our beloved ‘High School Musical” stars embarked on finishing their senior year at East High not on the television, but on the big screen. Such a monumental change of venue can only be accompanied by monumental life changes for the characters. Troy and Chad play the last game of their high-school basketball careers and, as expected, the torch is passed to another upcoming East High basketball star, Jimmie Zara. Nevertheless, the last 16 minutes are probably the most fulfilling moments in their careers. Gabriella tries to figure out whether to follow her heart or attend one of the best schools in the country. Troy also has to decide whether to follow his heart and pursue theater or pursue the understood dream of basketball in college.

Through the internal struggles, the students in drama teacher Ms. Darbus’s (Alyson Reed) homeroom are expected to produce a musical about their experiences at East High entitled ‘Senior Year.” Will Troy and Gabriella’s love blossom or end due to inevitable circumstances? Will Troy follow his love of music or his love of the sport? What will happen to the senior ‘High School Musical” members after they walk across the stage and enter into new chapters of their lives? You will have to go the theater to find out the juicy details.

The big-screen movie features 10 new songs, and some will make you cry, while some will spark self-evaluation and realizations, but the majority of them will make you want to jump out of your seat and bust a move.

‘The graphics were awesome!” sophomore Keshia Green said.

But, much more importantly, Green notes that it didn’t hurt seeing Zac Efron with his shirt off multiple times, even though it was only his back. It was a G-rated film, and I guess a PG rating would have been warranted for any form of male frontal upper-body nudity.

For all you ‘High School Musical” fans, do not worry. There may possibly be a fourth installment. Even though the faces at East High will change with the absence of Troy, Gabriella, Chad, Taylor, Sharpay, Ryan and the other ‘High School Musical” cast members that have captured our hearts for the past three years, one thing is sure: the torch has been passed, the Sharpay shoes have been filled (for better or for worse), and Troy’s and Chad’s lockers have found new occupants. Nevertheless, the infamous East High will live on because, just as Troy said, ‘Once a wildcat, always a wildcat.”

Massie is a member of the class of 2011.



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