I’ve watched High School Musical for quite some time as a kid (2006), but I believe rewatching the movie as an adult I understood more things about the movie than before. One of the things that I noticed was how the main character Troy Bolton reversed stereotypes that are usually put on high school athletes. It was unique to see that Troy Bolton was the star of the basketball team and had a lead role in the school’s theatre production.
The usual stereotype for male athletes in high school is to be a jock, which is what could be seen in the movie, but Troy Bolton chose to do theatre which a lot of the other athletes didn’t agree with including his dad who was the head coach of the high school basketball team. I honestly believe that the major reasoning behind him wanting to be in the school’s musical production was because of the romantic relationship between him and Grabriella Montez. As they played a major role in the musical together with duets and being the main characters in the movie alone. When Troy lost a bit of focus on the basketball season the song “Get’cha Head in the Game” showed how he was battling between theatre and basketball.
“My heads in the Game but my hearts in the song, She makes it feel so right” Was a lyric that I found to be the main line of the song. Another song that showed the stereotypes that the movie pointed out but were broken was in the song “I Don’t Dance” that was performed in the movie. That shows a sports match between Chad and Ryan. The two coming together showing they both can dance and sing together showed how the movie did a great job of joining the two groups of people like highschool athletes and theatre students together which is not the usual.
Overall the Movie was a great showcase of a musical within a musical and did a great job of being relatable movie to people who were in high school at the time. It achieved every element with romance, comedy, drama, etc. There was a great deal of breaking stereotypes in Highschool Musical that were on show case that I didn’t notice until I got older.
So far this semester we have watched a couple of musicals that I find interest in. The two that I will talk about today is The Newsies and The Prom, because both of the films showcase identity on a musical stage. There is an LGBTQ+ image on this blog because of the character Emma from The Prom, who was a lesbian high school student who was treated unfairly by her environment because of “her life choices”. In todays society, I believe there is more acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community especially here at Vanderbilt University. Although there are many places in the country that have people with different mindsets, in which the film showed Indiana to be a state where lesbians are discriminated. The music authors did a great job with aligning the lyrics to Emma’s adversity she was facing at school. In the film Newsies the character Jack Kelley showed masculinity throughout the performance of songs and acting. The songs Seize the day and Santa Fe performances demonstrated the stereotypes of men being tough characters.
The Prom’s main character Emma started her first song of the musical saying, “note to self don’t be gay in Indiana”. She said this right after seeing a girl she was attracted to in the hallway that looked at her seductive. She said this looking nervous and putting her head down slightly and a lower tone of voice. This showed the resistance of being open with sexuality to people who against gay people. That first lyric ultimately shaped the tone for the rest of the film and gave a glimpse of the circumstances she was going through in her environment. Her school James-Madison High school was approaching their prom and the principle Mrs. Greene made it clear that the school would not allow students of the same sex to go to prom together. Emma did not like this approach and wanted to be able bring a girl along with her to prom. This caused a problem that the nation would hear about and bring reporters from different states to take heed to the matter in Indiana. There was an obvious low acceptance from her peers at school and the parents of students. The character Nick told Emma, “Why don’t you exchange her with a guy”, when talking about a foreign exchange student she was planning to bring to prom. Nick said it alongside another male friend with smiles on their faces in a taunting manner. Emma had an open mouth and an embarrassed facial expression especially with this encounter being right after getting out the pool. It seemed to be a situation where a straight man wanted to flirt with a lesbian women seeing her in a swimsuit, which can qualify as sexual harassment at the high school. It was clear that Emma was bullied at the school and simply because her sexuality, there is a scene where Emma is getting balls thrown at her by a group of girls for the song name Just Breath.