☆ 15 years of High School Musical (January 20, 2006) ☆
High School Musical’s truest legacy has been its impact on modern musicals — in that its success helped usher in a new era of unironic love for musical theatre, and a new approach to integrating the musical into the mainstream. […] The year 2007 alone saw a string of popular movie musicals capitalizing on the moment, like Hairspray, Disney’s own Enchanted, Once, and Sweeney Todd, all dripping in self-commentary on their respective genres and tropes. This trend has continued into the 2010s with an ongoing lineup of regular movie musicals from Les Miserables and Into the Woods to the upcoming Spielberg-directed West Side Story remake, and eventually expanded into the recent hit-and-miss but popular tradition of live stage musical performances. Without High School Musical, we definitely wouldn’t have Glee, or the cult favorite musical TV series Smash, or the Pitch Perfect franchise. […]
These were all works whose popularity derived in part from their fans being in on the “joke” about how uncool it is to like musicals and singing groups — thus ironically making it okay for musicals and singing groups to become cool again. […] But perhaps the High School Musical franchise has already broken so much ground that its creative team feels that all it needs to be is an inspiration to its successors. And given just how inspiring it’s proven to be, who are we to argue?