Lucas Grabeel makes a musical cameo in the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
The singer and actor, 35, appears as a fictional version of himself in Friday’s episode of the show.
Grabeel played Ryan Evans in the original High School Musical movies, which aired on the Disney Channel. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is inspired by the film series and follows new characters at the fictionalized East High School.
Grabeel performs the song “Role of a Lifetime” with Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) in the episode. He said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight published Thursday that he jumped at the chance to appear on the Disney+ series.
“I immediately said yes, but I was still a bit hesitant yet intrigued to see how I was going to be used and furthermore, the details of the show,” Grabeel said. “Once I heard from [executive producer] Tim [Federle], passionately describing how he wanted to maintain the integrity of the original movies and music and dancing and spirit and also bring it to the new generation, I became so excited and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Grabeel said his cameo is a blend between himself and his High School Musical character, Ryan.
“It was fun to figure out where that line was and how to play myself but with a flair of Ryan,” he said. “It was so great to put on my dancing shoes again. I was definitely out of shape because I haven’t danced in so long, but luckily everyone was so nice and helpful and helped this old grandpa get on his feet again.”
Grabeel reflected on how the world of East High has changed in an interview with TVLine published Friday.
“We didn’t have smart phones or social media,” he said. “It was a different time, yet it feels like only yesterday, which is a testament to how much technology and society have changed over the last decade.”
Grabeel also remarked on the openness of LGBT characters in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and how many fans thought Ryan was gay in the original movies.
“He was not out, and he wasn’t running around being that way, but he had that energy inside of him,” he said of Ryan. “It’s such an important time in your life, and you’re figuring so many things out. Now, thankfully, people are much more accepting and welcoming of other people’s differences.”
Since High School Musical, Grabeel has starred as Toby Kennish on the ABC Family series Switched at Birth. He also voices the title character on the Netflix animated series Pinky Malinky.
By Annie Martin
Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.