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HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3: SENIOR YEAR

About The Production
The phenomenon of "High School Musical” started out as an idea in producer Bill Borden's living room. "I wanted to make a musical that I could sit down and watch with my kids. It was that simple,” says Borden.

Although the musical had seen somewhat of a revival with the success of adult fare such as "Moulin Rouge!” and "Chicago,” no one was making musicals for the teen audience. "Bill and I are true believers in this particular genre—the musical for teens,” says Borden's producing partner Barry Rosenbush. "With the first movie, we weren't trying to invent the wheel…we were trying to reintroduce the wheel.

"Movie history is filled with musical comedy for teens,” continues Rosenbush. "The movies back in the ‘30s and ‘40s, the movies that we grew to love—‘Westside Story,' ‘The Sound of Music,' and later ‘Grease'—were all for young people.”

Borden and Rosenbush were already working with writer Peter Barsocchini on another project when the idea for "High School Musical” gained momentum; they tapped him to write the screenplay.

"They said they were doing a Disney project that involved music and sports,” says Barsocchini. "The world of music and sports was familiar to me—I played basketball during my youth and I was a music critic in the late ‘60s in San Francisco.”

Multi-talented director/choreographer Kenny Ortega then joined the trio to bring this musical idea to the small screen. "Kenny has many unique talents which make him a really fantastic director,” says Borden. "He is a musician. He's a great dancer. He's a choreographer. He's an actor. He really does mold the screenplay. He can take a concept and make it come alive in a musical like no other person in the world. Kenny really is an amazing force of nature.”

"All I've ever tried to do here with ‘High School Musical' was to enjoy telling a story from a musical point of view in a lighthearted and joyful way without having an overly complicated story and overly complicated characters,” says Ortega. "I just try to bring it to life with as much fun and joy and color and excitement as possible.”

The team fathered a creative phenomenon that would come to include cable television's highest-ever- rated telecast, the two highest-ever- rated Disney Channel movies, two multi-platinum soundtracks, a concert tour, an ice show, numerous awards and accolades, and a source of inspiration to teens worldwide. "There's something about teenage life that is the same all around the world,” says Borden.

Bringing "HSM” from Disney Channel to a feature film was a dream-come-true for Ortega. "I've always wanted to direct a musical for the big screen.”

So when it came time to continue the Wildcats' story in a big-screen format, Ortega was ready. "The first thing out of Kenny Ortega's mouth was ‘I don't want to remake the first two movies. I want to be true to the ‘High School Musical' feeling, but I want to let these kids grow up,'” remembers Barsocchini. "They're high school seniors, so let's give them the pressures that high school seniors have about prom, finals, graduation and going away. There's a balance— we're making musical comedy but we want to try and base it in some emotional reality.”

Ortega revels in being a part of a creative endeavor. "Peter has given us a wonderful blueprint and has been there with me all along in the development of the song placement,” he says. "We were able to do workshops with the actors and throw some improvs out there. The last drafts of this script were actually done in the company of all the actors and dancers in the rehearsal studio.”

Adds Borden, "Even though ‘HSM3' is a big-screen feature film, we wanted to make sure it came out of the same world and has the same feeling as the first two.”

The filmmakers admit that a major motion pi

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