For the 'High School Musical' Gang, Lots of Extracurricular Activities

Sunday, September 10, 2006

H ow can those Disney Channel meanies make us wait an entire school year for the sequel to the phenomenon that is "High School Musical"?

Summer of 2007? That's, like, forever. Total eagerness meltdown!

Sure, fans of this super sleeper hit can console themselves with the first movie's DVD ("High School Musical: Encore Edition"), the book version ("High School Musical: The Junior Novel"), the soundtrack, the ring tones and the clothing line. But, still .

To curb your craving for the charming "HSM" celebriteens, with their feel-good story about kids breaking free of stereotypes, here's where to find them this fall, smiling and toiling in the many fields of Disney properties.

-- John Maynard

Monique Coleman ("Taylor")

Starting Tuesday, Coleman could be shimmying away that good-girl image on the sometimes risque "Dancing With the Stars" on Disney-owned ABC. Will there be dirty dancing with partner Louis Van Amstel, who last heated up the dance floor with Harry Hamlin's wife, Lisa Rinna? (We hope she'll get older-brother-style protection from contestant Tucker Carlson, the very non-risque D.C. pundit.)

Vanessa Anne Hudgens ("Gabriella")

Look for her first solo album, "V," to be released this month on Disney's Hollywood Records. ("V" is apparently not for "Vendetta," but "Vanessa.") She'll open for good-girl Disney Channel rockers the Cheetah Girls (they play Constitution Hall Oct. 17). The Girls' first film recently edged out "HSM" to become Disney Channel's highest-rated movie ever. (Backstage vendetta . . . a cat fight with Cheetahs?)

Zac Efron ("Troy")

His piercing blue eyes and good bad-boy bangs hit the big screen next year for a new film version of "Hairspray." Efron keeps up the heartthrob vibe in the role of hunky teen Link Larkin. Twist of fate: "Hairspray" stars John Travolta, who made a big screen splash in "Grease," the obvious inspiration for "HSM."

Ashley Tisdale ("Sharpay")

Much like her snobbish "HSM" character, Tisdale won't be outdone by her co-stars, releasing her first, yet-to-be-titled solo album for Warner Bros. (non-Disney product alert!) in January. Meanwhile, she's keeping it real in the Disney Channel family, with guest roles on future episodes of "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody."

Corbin Bleu ("Chad")

Bleu stays true-blue Disney with his first solo album, to be released in early 2007 on the Hollywood Records label, and a role in the network's movie "Jump In!," coming to small screens in January. Bleu is a boxer whose true passion is (!) jump-roping.

Lucas Grabeel ("Ryan")

Pops back up on Disney Channel next month for "Return to Halloweentown," the fourth of the network's pumpkin-time franchise. He scurries out of the Mouse House for the CW's "Smallville," where (luscious locks lookout!) he plays a cue-ball bald young Lex Luthor.

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