One of the landmark originals for the Disney+ streaming service when it launched, and a perennial mouthful, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is adding two more words to its title next month when it debuts its very own "Holiday Special." The streamer has released a first look at the new episode which will run 45 minutes and feature performances by the cast and "of their favorite Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's songs along with their childhood holiday memories, stories about their best and most embarrassing presents, their family traditions, photos, and New Year's resolutions," according to Entertainment Weekly.
Series showrunner Tim Federle revealed how it all came together, attributing the idea to missing the cast during the COVID-19 lockdown and noting that due to the ongoing pandemic they were shooting in multiple states at once to make it happen. "It was a lot of Google spreadsheets and Zoom meetings," Federle said.
He added, "I want the audience experience to be escaping into this holiday merriment, as opposed to thinking too hard about how did they shoot this during this unprecedented time. We had four different crews in four different cities. Sofia Wylie, she was up at 4 in the morning and she was shooting in the Arizona desert during a heatwave, and I was directing it over a speakerphone attached to a microphone on set. My Snapple fun fact is that we shot the L.A. portion at the Bachelor house literally in Malibu because we were right down to the wire trying to figure out locations and a lot of locations weren't available [at the height of the shutdown]. It just makes me laugh because it is all part of the ABC family."
While the special isn't set to air until December 11th, the soundtrack will be available beginning on November 20th. One of the songs will be an acoustic version of an original Season 2 song, written and performed by star Joshua Bassett. When the special arrives in December it will come with a sneak peek at the second season of the series as well.
Joe Serafini has been upgraded to series regular status for Season 2, joining returning stars Olivia Rodrigo, Joshua Bassett, Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie, Larry Saperstein, Julia Lester, Dara Renee, Frankie Rodriguez, Mark St. Cryer, and Kate Reindeers.