When Joshua Bassett
arrived on the set of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
” last year to begin filming the show’s second season, he was determined to bring “laughter, joy, and relief” to viewers suffering from pandemic
For Season 2, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” has upped the ante both visually and dramatically. The Disney
+ series follows a group of young thespians at Utah
’s fictional East High School, which puts a mockumentary spin on 2006’s “High School Musical,” which starred Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens.
Offstage romances abound, most notably between skateboarder-turned-leading man Ricky Bowen (played by Bassett) and theater devotee Nini Salazar-Roberts (Olivia Rodrigo) on the show.
“In Season 1, Ricky did a lot of running away from his problems, and I think in Season 2, he’s really trying to face his fears,” Bassett, 20, told Stardia. “Even though he’s trying his best, he falls on his face, but really does have the best intentions. He’s still a teenage boy figuring out this whole high school thing.”
Meanwhile, the choice of “Beauty and the Beast” turned out to be a full-circle moment for the actor, who played Chip in a community production when he was 11 years old. (Spoiler alert: His role this time around will involve a giant fur wig in the first three episodes screened for press.)
By all accounts, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” has been a career-making vehicle for Bassett, who made his television acting debut in Fox’s short-lived “Lethal Weapon” series in 2017. The Oceanside, California
, native has spent the first half of 2021 in the midst of a media frenzy following the release of Rodrigo’s smash single, “Drivers License,” in January.
Many fans interpreted the song as an ode to a real-life, behind-the-scenes romance between her and Bassett, and their subsequent breakup. (Rodrigo's subsequent singles, "Deja Vu" and the recently-released "Good 4 U," both allude to heartbreak and have kept the TikTok
Bassett, who has been romantically linked to “Girl Meets World” actress Sabrina Carpenter, went viral
earlier this week after gushing over “hot” Harry Styles in an interview with Clevver News that he dubbed “my coming out video.”
On Tuesday, he posted a note to his social media
platforms clarifying his remarks but not labeling his sexuality. “It’s OK to still be figuring out who you are,” he said at the time.
are going to have their opinions on who Ricky and Nini should be with,” Bassett says. “It starts to bleed into real life, and People make assumptions about what they want to happen. I can’t take it personally, because it’s not founded in truth. Most People are making theories up. They’re just not informed.”
Fans seeking insight into his life, he said, should listen to his new music, which he released in March as a six-song debut EP, and last week as the anthemic, made-for-summer single, "Feel Something."
“It’s cool to go from playing Ricky to making honest songs from my perspective and get into the part of my life that’s emotional and difficult. When you’re writing music, you have a chance to really say something. It’s forced me to grow in a lot of ways. I’m really not afraid to throw paint at the wall and try a bunch of new things.”
There's also Season 2 of "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series," which Bassett hopes will resonate with those who have had a "perspective shifter" year in the midst of the COVID-19
When asked about the difficulties of filming in a pandemic, he said, "I'm thankful to have this group of People and the foundation we have as a family." "We had each other and had to push through and make some sacrifices, but it was worth it because of how special the show is, how special our family is."
“At the end of the day, what truly matters outside of competition and education
is family, the People you love, and who you truly are, who you choose to be every single day,” he added.
On Disney +, new episodes of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” air on Fridays.