All of the “High School Musical” kids, including Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale, may have graduated from East High, but Ms. Darbus’ drama class lives on in the Disney Channel’s new pilot inspired by the “High School Musical” franchise.
“Madison High” is the channel’s new music and dance-driven comedy pilot, which will introduce viewers to a new troupe of theater students. Alyson Reed will reprise her role as drama teacher Ms. Darbus in the project. Production on the pilot begins in March and if it is picked up, it will premiere in early 2012.
Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, says, “‘High School Musical’ introduced the joys of musicals and musical theater to a whole new generation and kids and families. They embraced the themes explored in those movies — about expressing oneself and following your dreams. And now, with ‘Madison High,’ we hope to give kids a whole new set of character with whom to engage — along with more great original music, dance numbers and songs.”
The pilot will introduce new characters, including students Devin Daniels, Peyton Hall and Wednesday Malone. “Minuteman’s” Luke Benward will play Devin, Leah Lewis will play Peyton and G Hannelius is set to play Wednesday. The following roles have not yet been cast: Cherry O’Keefe, Colby Baker and Harvey Flynn.
“Madison High” will feature four original songs written by Kara DioGuardi (“American Idol,” “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”), Matthew Gerrard (“Hannah Montana,” “HSM”), Robbie Nevil (“Hannah Montana,” “HSM”), Jamie Houston (“HSM”) and more.
Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush (“HSM”), Lester Lewis (“The Office”) and Paul Hoen (“Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”) are executive producing. Lewis wrote the pilot script, which Hoen will be directing.