Things at East High School are about to heat up — and, no, we’re not just talking about callbacks for the spring musical.
After a highly acclaimed and rather triumphant performance of High School Musical at the Salt Lake City school where the hit movie musical was filmed, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is getting the gang back together for the second season of the Disney+ original series — and this year, the competition is especially fierce.
Not only are the Wildcats going head-to-head at this year’s auditions, Miss Jenn is begging her rambunctious bunch of high school students to bop to the top and take home first prize at their local theatre competition. There’s only one thing standing in their way: the hunky Derek Hough and his kids at rival school North High.
“He was a high school boyfriend,” Kate Reinders, who plays Miss Jenn, exclusively tells OK! of Hough’s role as Zack in the upcoming season.
“Everybody has that one right? Your first love, your big love. He sort of broke Miss Jenn’s heart, and maybe sort of sent her into a spiral, so Miss Jenn might go a little cuckoo this season.”
After all, who wouldn’t go gaga when the devilishly charming Dancing With The Stars pro is forced into your arms for some steamy scenes in the new season?
“We danced, we had lots of eye contact and I would just say yeah, [there was] some [intense] body language,” Reinders jokes. But the real question on everyone’s mind is did they lock lips? “Do you think I would still be alive?” she asks.
In the show’s second season, set to premiere Friday, May 14, on Disney+, the students at East High are hanging up their Wildcats jerseys and trading in their basketball sneaks for silverware. This school year, they’re doing Beauty and the Beast, and let’s just say the tea will be piping hot.
“I’m not sure when we knew who was playing what [in Beauty in the Beast],” Reinders says, but she can confirm that there was a “big reveal” behind the scenes — and she teases that fans of the teen musical series are sure to be thrilled. “It’s going to be really, really good.”
Also on everybody's mind is the return of East High’s favorite couple, played by breakout stars Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett.
“I think Disney just realized what a pot of gold — pots of gold — they stumbled into with these kids,” Reinders says. “I don’t think it was a matter of if they became huge stars, I think it was just a matter of when and how.”
The relationship between Rodrigo, who plays talented teen Nini, and Bassett, who plays handsome skater turned musical theatre star Ricky, will be tested this school year as they try to navigate a long-distance relationship.
But that won’t be the only drama at East High — there will be plenty of musical numbers, and according to their 40-year-old onscreen drama teacher, the high schoolers certainly have their heads in the game.
“I love watching these kids at such young ages just be so talented and so full of promise and possibility,” she gushes. “I don’t know where they’re going to go, but I know it’s going to be huge, and I love having the opportunity to watch them skyrocket.”