Jackie Gingrich Cushman

More than 17 million viewers tuned into the premiere of “High School Musical 2” on August 17, making it the most watch basic cable telecast on record.  Our house included four of those viewers.

I heard about the debut from a friend whose daughter was having a premiere viewing party.  This was not an isolated event -- there were debut parties across the nation.  The Disney Web site even offered party tips for the event.

 Disney promoted the movie throughout the summer, providing fans with an interactive way to help create the new show through the Disney Web site.  Fans’ choices determined, among other things, what was written on Chad’s t-shirt and Sharpay’s golf cart accessories.

As with the original movie, Disney did a terrific job of combining talent and entertainment with a story that has a moral.  The original “High School Musical” revolves around the ideas of working hard, taking a chance and being successful. 

“High School Musical 2” focuses on being true to yourself and to your friends. 

The movie begins as the last class of the year is ending and summer break is beginning.  The plot revolves around Troy, the basketball team captain, and school heart throb; Gabriella his smart girlfriend; and Sharpay, the rich country club girl with the pink convertible, who decides winning Troy over will be her summer activity.

Troy, Gabriella and the majority of the basketball team are looking for summer jobs.  Sharpay decides to assist Troy (without his knowing) by having the manager of her family’s country club offer Troy a job.  Troy turns his good fortune into good fortune for his friends, securing jobs at the club for them as well. 

In her quest to win Troy over, Sharpay orchestrates numerous tricks and twists, including Troy’s promotion to assistant golf pro, access to a golf cart, new Italian shoes, golf clothes and clubs, and an introduction via her father to the Redhawks college basketball team.  Troy is faced with choosing between opportunities and old friends.

 During one telling scene, Troy and the Redhawks are at a table, when Chad, Troy’s friend approaches to serve lunch.  Troy interrupts his conversation with the Redhawks, Chad’s face lights up, thinking his friend is about to introduce him.  Instead, Troy informs Chad that his order is wrong; he had asked for Swiss on his hamburger.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.