While season 2 of the Disney+ musical comedy is still a ways off from premiering, the cast of HSMTMTS is teaming up for a holiday treat, High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special, that will drop Friday, Dec. 11 on the streaming service, ET has learned.
If that's not enough to stir up excitement, the holiday special will also feature a first look at the opening performance of season 2, which will take on Beauty and the Beastas the in-series musical production, and an original song written and performed by Joshua Bassett that will be featured in the new season.
In the 45-minute special, which was produced and filmed in four different cities during quarantine, series stars Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie, Larry Saperstein, Julia Lester, Dara Reneé, Frankie Rodriguez, Joe Serafini, Mark St. Cyr and Kate Reinders perform some of their favorite Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's songs.
The cast will also share their fondest holiday memories from childhood, the best and most embarrassing presents they received, favorite traditions, never-before-seen family photos and New Year's resolutions.
As for Bassett's original song, which he wrote specifically for season 2, it will be holiday-themed. He will perform an acoustic version in the holiday special. This is 19-year-old Bassett's second professional songwriting credit, following the season 1 ballad, "Just for a Moment," which he co-wrote with Rodrigo.
"The holidays remind us of the universal importance of family and loved ones," said HSMTMTS executive producer Tim Federle, who also produced and directed the special. "The cast of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is its own kind of family, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to share their favorite holiday music and traditions with our viewers."
A holiday soundtrack featuring tunes performed by the cast in the special will be available Friday, Nov. 20 wherever you stream or purchase music.
Originally set to debut in late 2020 before COVID-19 delayed HSMTMTS' planned winter premiere, the 12-episode sophomore season will feature the East High drama department's production of a beloved Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast. Iconic musical numbers from the High School Musicalmovie franchise, as well as the stage production of Beauty and the Beast and original songs, will be spotlighted throughout the season. Filming was completed on the first two episodes before the pandemic shut down production in Salt Lake City, Utah. Derek Hough joins the cast as Miss Jenn's ex-boyfriend and rival drama teacher at North High.
In July, ET checked in with Rodrigo about life in quarantine and the 17-year-old actress said she's chomping at the bit to reunite with her castmates to resume season 2. "I’m so excited to see my cast members when we go back to shooting," she said. "We’ve kept up over Zoom and FaceTime but there’s nothing like hanging out in person."
Rodrigo also revealed the one Beauty and the Beast song she hopes to perform in the new season. "My favorite song from Beauty and the Beast is 'Home,'" she said. "When I was little, I would put on performances of the song in front of my parents -- costumes and everything. Always a theater kid at heart!"