While his HSM buddies were hitting the stage, Zac Efron was gelling up his do to film Hairspray, with John Travolta and Amanda Bynes. "The hours were insane," says Zac, who plays heartthrob Link Larkin in the adaptation of the Broadway musical, out July 20. "But I was in great shape. Two months of dancing on a daily basis teach you endurance. You come out a different person." And a thankful one. "Hairspray," says the star, "was a dream come true."
THE OTHER TROY
Although he was stepping in to fill Zac's sneakers for the tour, Drew Seeley wanted to throw his own personality into Troy. "I started from scratch," says Drew, 25. "Kids don't want to see some guy try to re-create the character they already know."
Drew got the job after cowriting "Get'cha Head in the Game" and providing vocals for Zac in the first movie. (Zac does all of his own singing in HSM2.)
Growing up in Toronto, Drew realized his talent at a young age. "I just loved poetry—everything I wrote rhymed and had a chorus," says the singer, who starred in a local production of Show Boat at age 11. After moving to L.A. in 2004, he worked as a busboy before HSM "fell in my lap." And though he calls Zac "a really good guy," Drew admits he was happy to step in: "For selfish reasons, I'm glad Zac was busy. It gave me a chance to get my foot in the door." Now he's working on a solo album and would love to continue his High School run. "I've had a blast," he says. "I'll keep shaving and looking young as long as things keep going along."
CORBIN BLEU'S TOUR DIARY
When I first heard that High School Musical was going to take the show on the road, I was like, 'huh?' It seemed like we were going to mess with something really good. But I'm glad to say that I was wrong! We took something good and made it great! We did 42 shows in 40 cities around the United States and Canada and then 10 shows in South America. Each and every one of them was totally awesome. The first night of the tour, in San Diego, the crowd was cheering so loud and there was so much adrenaline pumping through our bodies after the first song, I can't even believe we all remembered the words! To look out and see 15,000 people screaming your name, holding signs, wearing T-shirts with your picture on the front ...we just looked at each other on stage and we were in awe.
My preshow ritual involved drinking a tall glass of orange juice with protein powder, followed by a glass of milk. Then I'd lay out my props, my wardrobe, my microphone pack, ear pieces. I'd make sure everything was working and ready to go. Then I'd go off by myself and run through the songs. In the guys' dressing room, Lucas, Drew and I would psych each other up by clapping and doing a series of handshakes. Then we'd do 100 sit-ups and 50 push-ups. When we were pumped up we'd join the whole HSM tour group for a little circle time. We'd hold hands with Monique, Ashley, Vanessa and all of the dancers and talk about having a great show and kind of get everyone amped up to take the stage.
After the shows, which went by way too quickly, we'd meet with fans backstage. They were friends of the concert promoters or family who were in town or radio and online contest winners. Sometimes people would give us pictures that they had drawn or give us gifts like video games and candy. I'm really into Johnny Depp and I got a really cool Pirates of the Caribbean action figure. When that was over we'd walk to our buses where there'd be more fans to cheer us as they sent us off to the next city. It was completely awesome!
Living on the bus from city to city was cool. I shared a bus with Drew and Lucas, and we got along so well. They both brought their guitars along and they'd play and we'd sing. I don't have a guitar (I play piano and keyboard), but they were nice enough to teach me a few chords. We'd play video games, watch movies and talk.
We were about two weeks into the tour when I started to get sad that it was going to come to an end. It was such a magical experience and I wanted it to go on and on. You can't believe what it's like to see 15,000 people cheering for you, screaming your name, watching your every move. I am going out on my own tour this summer and I can't wait. Touring is habit-forming!