Why Zac Efron Isn’t Singing With the High School Musical Cast in the Disney Family Singalong

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As much of the country remains under quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic, the original High School Musical cast reunited via Zoom tonight to perform for Disney’s Family Singalong. Though series stars Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Monique Coleman, Lucas Grabeel, and Corbin Bleu were very much involved in the “We’re All in This Together” performance, Zac Efron was missing from the musical number. There’s a reason for that, franchise director Kenny Ortega told Deadline earlier this week: Efron joined late and last-minute.

“We couldn’t reach Zac until late but when we did, he immediately jumped in, of course,” Ortega said. “Everyone we reached out to was quick—and you’ll see it in their spirit and the way they come together from their homes. They recognize this is an opportunity to strengthen spirits for those joining us for the broadcast.”

Deadline wrote that Efron will instead share a special message during the show. And though he hasn’t teased the special on his social media, his ex-girlfriend—and Gabriella to his HSM Troy—Vanessa Hudgens has. Ahead of the broadcast Thursday night, she posted a screenshot of the group’s Zoom chat. Efron was noticeably missing.

The High School Musical cast reunited in person once before, when they filmed a 10-year anniversary special for the first movie in 2016. Efron was missing then too, though he recorded speaking segments that were incorporated into the special.

At the time, a Disney spokeswoman told Billboard that Efron skipped the group taping because it conflicted with promotion of his movie Dirty Grandpa.

News and Strategy Editor Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).

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