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‘High School Musical’ star: It was ‘dope’ filming at ‘Bachelor’ house
“High School Musical” star Joshua Bassett (Ricky) says he wrote his own song for the show’s holiday special.
It’s called “The Perfect Gift” and plays a big part in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” streaming on Disney+.
“Tim Federle, the showrunner, gave me a call right before we started filming,” Bassett, 19, tells The Post. “He said, ‘We have this spot for Ricky and he sings this song and I really would like it if you could actually write it yourself.’ And he kind of gave the premise.
“Essentially it’s a Christmas song and the idea is that Ricky doesn’t have a lot of money and there’s not much that he can get [his love interest Nini]. So he does the next best thing he can do — and that’s [to] write her a song.”
Inspired by the “High School Musical” hit Disney movie franchise, the series — which is currently filming its second season (no premiere date yet) — follows teens at East High, including skateboarder Ricky (Bassett) and jock E.J. (Matt Cornett) as they put on a stage rendition of “High School Musical: The Musical.” The 45-minute special also features cast members Olivia Rodrigo (Nini), Kate Reinders, Dara Renee, Larry Saperstein and more.
Each cast member performs a rendition of festive ballads such as “Feliz Navidad,” “Hanukkah, O Hanukkah” and “Last Christmas.” Between songs, they open up about their own personal lives and holiday traditions and New Year’s resolutions.
“The cool thing is that people who have seen the show are going to get to know the cast a little better, as we play ourselves and not our characters,” says Bassett.
“It’s just such a diverse special [and] we have so many cool different numbers,” he says. “In a year that’s filled with people not being able to be together, I think they will find some comfort. There’s something in it for everybody. It’s a beautiful roller coaster. It’s very heartfelt and also very funny — and it’s a nice escape from this difficult year.”
As Bassett shares onscreen, his celebrations have always been big, since he has five sisters and a father who’s a professional pianist and drummer.
“When I was about 7, my dad taught me how to play drums for our church,” he says. “And so every Sunday I would play drums and my dad would play the piano, and that was how I got my musical start.”
Since the holiday special was filmed during the pandemic, cast members are spread out in different locations for each of their segments. Bassett, who was in LA at the time, ended up shooting his scenes in an unusual location secured from a very different series under the Disney/ABC umbrella.
“I actually got to shoot at the ‘Bachelor’ house in LA,” he says. “That was pretty dope … Matt and I got to go swimming in the ‘Bachelor’ pool. I’ve seen bits and pieces [of ‘The Bachelor’] here and there. I’m not like a diehard fan, but it definitely was cool to be shooting there.”
Coming up, Bassett also has his first EP, scheduled to be released in 2021.
“The first single from it is coming out Jan. 14,” he says. “I’m over-the-moon stoked about it. I really put in the work to make sure that it would be as good as it could possibly be.”