High School Musical may have debuted in 2006, but it is truly the gift that keeps on giving. In 2019, the franchise premiered its spinoff, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney+, and now, a familiar face has made an appearance on the show. For longtime fans, Lucas Grabeel's cameo in the High School Musical series' Dec. 27 episode was the prefect present to close out the holiday season.
Grabeel famously starred as Ryan Evans in the original three HSM movies, alongside Ashley Tisdale, who played his twin Sharpay. From Bop to the Top to What I've Been Looking For, the duo was the source of some of the most iconic songs, performances, and attitudes of the franchise.
Although Grabeel brought his musical talents back for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, he left his past character Ryan Evans behind, instead playing a version of his real-life self. He appeared in Episode 9, titled "The Tech Rehearsal," which followed the East High theatre department as the students put the final touches on their own production of High School Musical. However, when a fire at the East High auditorium sent the group to the same eerie downtown theatre where Miss Jess (Kate Reinders) saw the original HSM movie, the school's production leader was forced to "confront some old demons" of her own.
Grabeel joined for this episode "to help Miss Jenn have the confidence and the drive to get these kids ready to put on a good show," he explained to ET. Breaking out his old dancing shoes (and signature hat), he and Reinders performed an uplifting duet that had fans on Twitter totally jazzed.
Taking the role was a no-brainer for Grabeel. "I immediately said yes, but I was a still a bit hesitant yet intrigued to see how I was going to be used and furthermore, the details of the show," he told ET. But once Grabeel was convinced the spinoff would maintain the integrity of the original films, he was thrilled to join in on the fun.
Calling the series' cast "so incredibly talented," he told TVLine: "I'm hoping that by me doing this, it's kind of a stamp of approval [of the new show] from all of us, from the old clan."
Grabeel isn't the only HSM alum who made an appearance in the new show. KayCee Stroh, who played Martha Cox, the "pop and lock" queen in the original movies, also had a role in Episode 5.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Episode 9 with Lucas Grabeel is available now on Disney+.