Frankie Rodriguez and Joe Serafini on gaying Disney in ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’

HIGH SCHOOL MUSIC: THE MUSIC: THE SERIES – “The Quinceanero” (Disney / Fred Hayes)

School is back and gay love is in the air.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series returns to Disney + on May 14, bringing with it the show’s queer couple Seb & Carlos (played by Joe Serafini and Frankie Rodriguez, respectively). Last season saw a goofy teenage flirtation blossom into a new affection. Season 2 of the show finds the boys about to launch a new school music production (no, we can’t reveal the title here), and struggling with some of the issues that any high school relationship faces. .

For Rodriguez & Serafini, landing the roles of the hottest gay couple on Disney + is just one more step in two already intriguing careers. Rodriguez grew up in central California before launching his acting career, making his debut in the popular digital series I’m Fine. Roles on Modern Family and This Close followed before landing the role of Carlos, the East High School resident choreographer. Serafini grew up singing on stage at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, appearing in city productions of Peter Pan, Oliver !, The Music Man and Anything Goes. A stint on the local Scientastic children’s show! marked Serafini’s on-camera debut before taking on the role of Seb, one of the stars of the show’s fictional musicals.

We took some time with Rodriguez & Serafini to discuss the show, the pressures of playing a gay couple for Disney, and what to expect from the new season. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series returns to Disney + on May 14.

So how happy do you feel to resume production after all this crazy COVID?

EN: It’s really weird. It was an unexpected interruption and I felt scared of everything that was going on in the world. I am happy to have something that I can come back to. It was a little different this season with COVID protocols, but it was great to see that much of it was still the same.

JS: I mean, I think the pandemic has put a lot of things in perspective for a lot of us in a lot of ways. I think just to get back to work and be together again, even with masks on and keeping your distance, it was really special to be there to support each other and work on something bigger than all of us.

Last season Carlos and Seb started a relationship. This could be the first gay relationship in Disney + history. Tell me about the responsibility for this? What kind of pride does this give you? What kind of anxiety?

JS: I think I always stress myself more than necessary. But yes, we have a responsibility to the community to tell these stories as authentically and as interestingly as possible. Really, we’re just trying to be honest in our storytelling and not make such a big deal out of it. I think that’s what makes him so beautiful: it’s just another relationship on the show. It’s not like a conflict.

EN: No pressure at all!


It’s crazy. It’s not something I ever thought of doing, especially on Disney +. But I’m happy to be – it seems so strange to be a “pioneer”. But it’s great to be the kind of performance that I didn’t get to see growing up. It’s great to have a wave of support from the new generation and also from the adults. Everyone has been super excited and supportive. It’s good.

Carlos & Seb, despite their own anxieties, seem to be a little more tied up than the rest of the characters. Do you see them as islands of common sense in a sea of ​​crazy teens? You are almost like the straight men in the mess of other students. Forgive the expression.


FR: It’s really funny that Seb and Carlos are the most stable and healthy relationships of all. It’s fun though.

JS: I would say yes, they are more stable than the others. Although they also have their problems. You will see.

We’ll have to talk more about that in a second. However, I’m sure if you say the wrong thing Disney will send masked men to all of our homes.


You’re both in your 20s working on a big production, which is kind of like the drama club your characters live in. What is life like for you? How do you balance the spectacle with studies and personal life?

EN: I think the biggest change is that we don’t shoot in Los Angeles. We’re shooting in Salt Lake City. This is the most important thing to get used to: you get away from it all and fall into this foreign place. For me, it’s quite nice, as an actor, to work in order to have a job. So having something stable, being able to leave Los Angeles, is a bit like a summer camp. I guess the only tricky thing to navigate is being away from home. But we’re doing it.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSIC: THE MUSIC: THE SERIES – “The Quinceanero” (Disney / Fred Hayes)

What about you, Joe?

JS: Yeah, I was just telling someone. I just finished my studies last May. So it was an experience to discover what life looks like without a school, to find my own structure. It has been interesting. I had an explosion. Like Frankie said, just being in Salt Lake City for months at a time and figuring out what’s going to happen after that. It’s not too bad. We’re getting out of it.

You are both still quite young and you are on a show that millions of people around the world are watching. How does this affect the way you go about your daily life with your family and friends?

EN: I will say walking around in public with a mask on has kind of helped when I don’t want to be noticed.


But it’s a little weird. It’s starting to happen more – to be recognized in public. It bothers me a bit. It’s like don’t look at me, i’m a mess. But for everything else, we’ve been home for a year. So I would say it’s awesome for the most part.

JS: Yeah, I try to stay humble and keep my head down. I think relying on the people around us – family and friends – it helps us stay grounded or get under the pressure, you know, to be famous.

I’m sure the masks help.

Related: Tim Federle Revisits Gay High School In ‘High School Musical: The Musical – The Series’

Watching this show… it reminded me a lot of a documentary about the young stars of the first Nickelodeon shows that I recently watched. These now adult actors explained how surreal it is to be a kid playing a kid going through essentially the same things on a show that they go through in real life. Have you ever thought about this – that you identify so closely with your characters?

EN: I do not know. Everyone says, “If I could just go back to high school.” Which is something i would do never want to do. But I’m happy to be able to start over in a fun and safe environment. I think the perspective it offers is that even though you might think you’re going through things on your own, almost everyone is going through something similar.

JS: I would say that in high school, growing up, I wasn’t really out. I wasn’t even really sure what I was identifying. It was such a trip. With Seb out, proud and ready to audition for Sharpay [a female role played in the film by Ashley Tisdale]it has been really interesting and honestly teaching me to be proud of who you are.

What can you tease us for the rest of the season? Do boys have a love duet?

EN: You’re going to get us fired.


Everything is done in the smoothest way possible, but there is a lot stuff to come I’m excited for the fans to see, especially the fans who have been so vocal and support our characters. I think there will be a fun reward.

JS: I agree. Everything he said is good.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series returns to Disney + on May 14.

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