Ryan Evans of ‘High School Musical’ Confirmed As Gay In New Series

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Lucas Grabeel’s character Ryan Evans in Disney‘s popular “High School Musical” franchise rapidly became a fan favorite upon the film’s 2005 release. Evans’ twin sister Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale) is the franchise’s theatrical anti-hero, and together, the twins continuously ready themselves for the tough world of show business, and hopeful admission to the prestigious Juilliard School. Now, a long held assumption about Ryan Evans’ character is being confirmed–that he is gay.

Ryan Evans’ sexuality is left ambiguous until the third film in the trilogy, in which he begins dating school pianist Kelsi Nielsen. LGBTQ+ representation did not push through the mainstream until the 2010s, and even now is reaching film and television geared towards pre-teens and teenagers just recently. Evans’ relationship with Nielsen felt like a random plot addition to some viewers who re-watched the films as adults. Elsewhere, others also point to a dance number between Ryan Evans and Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu) in the sequel film that some felt was a bit romantic.


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The Confirmation

More than a decade after the initial trilogy of Disney films was released, Disney Channel launched a spinoff. “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” follows a group of contemporary teenagers performing the plot of the first “High School Musical” as a stage play at their high school. The show initially starred now Grammy winning singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo alongside Joshua Bassett, Sofia Wylie, Frankie A. Rodriguez, and more.

In the latter seasons of the show, several actors from the original trilogy have made cameo appearances. Among the more recent cameos was Lucas Grabeel’s Ryan Evans, who kisses his partner (Scott Hoying) in a new trailer for the show, confirming that the character is gay.

The legendary filmmaker choreographer behind the original trilogy and countless other productions, Kenny Ortega, confirmed to Variety in 2020 that he suspected Ryan Evans was gay the whole time, and that he “probably came out during college.”


Social Media Reactions

Fans of the original films are jokingly feigning surprise at the news. Many felt that they could relate to the character’s high school experience of being a queer teenager interested in the arts.

Another theorized that Kelsi’s character could have also identified under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, and that the pair dated before they each came to terms with their respective sexualities.

Others pointed back to Ortega’s previous comments on the matter, telling audiences that this should not come as a surprise.


Others reminisced on a scene from “High School Musical 2” in which Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) appears jealous that his girlfriend Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) is spending time with Ryan. Some found it humorous knowing now that Ryan is canonically gay in the story, meaning his relationship to Gabriella was solely platonic the whole time.

Along with Grabeel’s return, Monique Carbon, Kaycee Stroh, and Corbin Bleu will also appear in a reunion episode for the final season of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” The show premieres on August 9 on Disney+.

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