“Is this my dream job? Yes!,” proclaims Kate Reinders of her latest role on the Disney+ series “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” The actress says that the meta-titled musical comedy is “a little bit of everything that I love the most.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Reinders portrays Miss Jenn, the wacky and over zealous new drama teacher at East High. She is determined to stage “High School Musical” at the venue since the school served as the filming location for the movie, but also because she was an extra in the film.
Miss Jenn might seem eccentric to some viewers, but not to Reinders. “I was always around people who were larger than life,” she divulges. “I know people who are that big!” Indeed, she has a Broadway resume filled with musical comedies, including stints in “Something Rotten!” and playing Glinda opposite Ana Gasteyer’s Elphaba in “Wicked.” It was during her “Wicked” days that she got her first taste of “High School Musical.” When Disney sought to adapt the hit movie for the stage (what Reinders jokingly refers to as “the first colon” of the series title), she was one of many Broadway performers enlisted to workshop the piece. “I was playing Glinda by night, and I was playing Sharpay by day,” she describes.
Because of her theatre background, Reinders asserts that the character feels so close to her own experiences that “I feel like I know her.” That results in an intuitive and truthful performance that is instantly recognizable to anyone who has spent time around stage folk. Since the story revolves around high school students, she finds herself surrounded by a group of teenage scene partners. “The kids are always teaching me,” she confesses. It’s another area where her time on stage has prepared her for this on screen adventure.She notes that, “one of the beautiful things about theater…age is just a number. We are just a team trying to create this magical thing together.”
Of course the writers of “High School Musical” couldn’t miss the chance to give the Broadway veteran a big number to showcase her singing skills. So Miss Jenn gets to belt out a brand new showtune called “Role of a Lifetime.” That song marks a turning point for the erstwhile actress turned drama teacher. “There’s a wistfulness” over an acting career that could have been, she adds. But suddenly she sees the potential in her new dream, asking herself: “who ever said this dream is smaller?” The song that results is joyous, triumphant, and for Reinders, embodies “the lesson we keep learning. Our dreams evolve.”
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