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					February 17, 2011


   DISNEY CHANNEL CASTS PILOT FOR MUSICAL COMEDY “MADISON HIGH”

              “High School Musical’s” Alyson Reed to Reprise Role
                        of Drama Teacher Ms. Darbus

        A favorite star from “High School Musical” will be joined by six multitalented
performers in a new music and dance-driven comedy pilot, “Madison High” (working
title). The series pilot introduces a troupe of theater students led by the melodramatic
drama teacher Ms. Darbus, a beloved character from the cultural sensation “High
School Musical.” Production on the pilot begins in March in consideration for a Disney
Channel series to premiere in early 2012.

      To drive the storyline, “Madison High” will feature four original songs written by
noted songwriters. They are: Matthew Gerrard (“Hannah Montana,” “High School
Musical”), Robbie Nevil (“Hannah Montana,” “High School Musical”), Jamie Houston
(“High School Musical”), James Dean Hicks, David Lawrence (“High School Musical,”
“High School Musical 2”), Faye Greenberg (“High School Musical 2”), Kara DioGuardi
(“Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”) and J.D. Salbego.

      Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush (“High School Musical” and its sequels) and
Lester Lewis (“The Office”) and Paul Hoen (“Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”) are the
executive producers. The pilot was written by Lester Lewis and will be directed by Paul
Hoen.

       In making the announcement, Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment and chief
creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said: “„High School Musical‟ introduced the
joys of musicals and musical theater to a whole new generation and kids and families.
They embraced the themes explored in those movies -- about expressing oneself and
following your dreams. And now, with „Madison High,‟ we hope to give kids a whole new
set of characters with whom to engage – along with more great original music, dance
numbers and songs.”

       Tony Award nominee Alyson Reed reprises her “High School Musical” TV and film
roles as Ms. Darbus, the drama teacher at East High School who relocates to Madison
High. The pilot will introduce several new characters, including students Devin Daniels,
Peyton Hall and Wednesday Malone, played by actors/singers/dancers Luke Benward
(Disney Channel Original Movie “Minuteman”), Leah Lewis and G Hannelius (Disney
Channel Original Movie “Den Brother”). Additional casting announcements are
forthcoming for the characters Cherry O‟Keefe, Colby Baker and Harvey Flynn.

       At Madison High, the students embark on a journey of self discovery while trying
to build a revolutionary theatre program under the tutelage of Ms. Darbus. She casts a
diverse troupe of both seasoned and raw actors to create an original musical production
based on their lives.
       Alyson Reed stars as drama teacher Ms. Darbus, the role she originated in “High
School Musical,” followed by its sequel and feature film. The Tony Award-nominated
actress starred on Broadway in “Dancin‟,” “Dance a Little Closer,” “Cabaret,” “A Grand
Night for Singing” and “Marilyn: An American Fable.” She can also be seen as Cassie in
Richard Attenborough‟s film adaptation of “A Chorus Line,” as well as multiple television
guest starring roles.

      15-year-old Luke Benward has the lead role of Devin Daniels, a motocross racer
looking for a new hobby. The native of Nashville, Tennessee is the son of an actress
and a musician, and since age 5 has appeared in commercials, music videos and
movies, including the Disney Channel Original Movie “Minutemen,” “How to Eat Fried
Worms,” “Doggone,” “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Mostly Ghostly,” “Dear John” and “We
Were Soldiers.”

      14-year-old singer Leah Lewis has landed her first leading role as Peyton Hall, a
formerly home-schooled tennis champion. Born in China and raised in Orlando, Florida,
Lewis has appeared in national commercials for Kraft Cheese, Home Depot and Natures
Own Bread, as well as an international commercial for Disneyland Hong Kong.

       12-year-old G Hannelius is set to play Wednesday Malone, a precocious starlet in
the making. The native of Boston, Massachusetts began her acting career at the age of
8 at the Children‟s Theater of Maine. A familiar face on Disney Channel, she starred in
the short form series “Leo Little‟s Big Show” and “Den Brother,” and has appeared on
“Sonny With A Chance,” “Good Luck Charlie,” “Hannah Montana” and Disney XD‟s “I‟m
in the Band.” Her other television credits include a series regular role on ABC‟s
“Surviving Suburbia.”

      Casting will be announced soon for these characters: Cherry O‟Keefe -- Madison
High‟s resident queen bee and blogger; Harvey Flynn -- the overly officious stage
manager and reigning president of the Drama Club; and Colby Baker -- the artistic
anime fan whose hand-drawn Manga is inspired by his high school experiences.

       Disney Channel is a 24-hour kid-driven, family inclusive television network that
taps into the world of kids and families through original series and movies. Currently
available on basic cable in over 99 million U.S. homes and to millions of other viewers
on Disney Channels around the world, Disney Channel is part of the Disney/ABC
Television Group.


Press Contact:
Rebecca Boswell
Rebecca.Boswell@disney.com
(818) 569-7807


                                  -- Disney Channel --

				
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