"High School Musical" has become a phenomenon for Disney, with the film going on to result in a concert tour with the stars and Broadway plays, not to mention countless CD and DVD sales.
For those unfamiliar with where it all started, my review of the original film:
"A Disney channel original feature from the director of "Newsies", "High School Musical" is a wholesome comedy/musical that became quite a hit for the channel. The picture opens on New Year's Eve, with Troy (Zac Efron) meeting cute with Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Anne Hudgens) at a karaoke bar. She's shy and vanishes before he can talk to her, but - not surprisingly - it's not the last the two will see of one another.
The shy, smart Gabriella once again bumps into Troy at East High, where she's a transfer student eager to blend in at a public school. Troy's the captain of the basketball team (some members of the team in one scene look like they're over 30), put under pressure by his coach father to focus on sports as the championship is on the horizon. Meanwhile, Troy can't help think about singing, as he's more interested in singing, despite feeling as if that would distance him from his friends.
Despite feeling peer pressure and scheming from "villains" Sharday (Ashley Tisdale) and Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), Troy and Gabriella share their love of music and try out for the school musical after convincing the uppity teacher to give them a chance. The duo's ambition to get into the musical leads to other kids around the school finally speaking up about hobbies (one kid reveals that he likes to bake) they've been too afraid to admit.
Every so often, the cast breaks into song and the results are definitely about as bubblegum pop as it gets - not surprisingly, the soundtrack has been a hit. Those who are in that target audience will likely find the movie to be a delight. Most adults, on the other hand, are going to find the picture cheesy enough to fufill their required servings of dairy for a few weeks.
Still, the performances are lively and the kids certainly give it an effort in their roles, especially Hudgens, who is engaging as a shy girl who gradually starts to gain more confidence. Overall, I definitely think this is a geared completely to younger audiences, who have already made it quite popular."
The "High School Musical: The Concert" (or, as I like to call it: "High School Musical.....The Musical" - the Broadway show can be "High School Musical: Musically Musical") has members of the original cast of the film performing the film's musical numbers on-stage in front of what appears to be a football stadium's worth of people in Houston. Anyone who doubts the success of the "High School Musical" empire need look no further than the absolute sea of people seen here who all appear to know all of the lyrics by heart. Some performers also get a spotlight to perform a song from their new album, as well.
VIDEO: The concert is presented by Disney in 1.33:1 full-frame and looks mostly terrific. Sharpness and detail are great during the close-ups, but wide shots (as one would expect) look somewhat softer by comparison. Some of the darker crowd shots and far shots also can appear a tad grainy. No edge enhancement or artifacting were seen and colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The show's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack provided a bassy, high-intensity presentation of the music, with some nice concert ambience and reinforcement in the rear speakers. Overall, this was a fine concert sound mix that provides an enjoyable "you are there" experience.
EXTRAS: "On the Road" is a 10-minute featurette that's actually better than what I expected. I thought this was going to be a promo piece, but the featurette actually gives a really good overview of the day-to-day events of the tour, which takes up 8 very high-end tour busses. The featurette takes the viewer backstage and shows the kind of effort that it takes to get the whole enterprise together each night and from city-to-city.
"You Are the Director" is a feature that allows the viewer to watch multiple angles of the performances of: "Start of Something New", "Get'cha Head in the Game", "Bop to the Top", "Breakin' Free" and "We're All in This Together". Essentially, the main screen for this feature is a control room, and the viewer clicks which camera angle they want on the main screen.
Finally, we get 4 songs from opening act Jordan Pruitt.
Final Thoughts: I can't say that I'm a fan (but I'm certainly not in the target audience, either), but the cast certainly puts on a high energy performance in front of an insanely large and quite amped-up audience.