If attracting 15,000 screaming fans doesn't prove once and for all that "High School Musical" has become the pop culture movement of its time, then nothing will. The kids wrapped up their 40-city tour and put an exclamation point on the fact that this little bubble-gum pop tuner is the perfect project for the zitgeist set, their younger siblings and their parents.

If attracting 15,000 screaming fans — from age 6 to 60 — doesn’t prove once and for all that “High School Musical” has become the pop culture movement of its time, then nothing will. The kids appearing on the biggest-selling album of 2006 — and in the Emmy-winning Disney Channel movie — wrapped up their 40-city tour and put an exclamation point on the fact that this little bubble-gum pop tuner is the perfect project for the zitgeist set, their younger siblings and their parents. “HSM” nation is huge.

For the uninitiated, “High School Musical” is “Fame” meets “Grease” meets “Romeo and Juliet,” and its collection of catchy songs, wholesome moments, and, frankly, smokin’ hot kids has melded into the ultimate phenomenon among TV projects.

Show translated a little awkwardly to the stage, however. The enthusiasm was all there, but innocence was replaced with a tawdry-ish sex appeal that seems out of line with both this specific project and Disney properties in general.

The movie was rooted in puppy-dog eyes and first crushes, but the marketeers have ably amped up the stage show’s bump-and-grind factor by allowing three of its stars — Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu and Vanessa Hudgens — to showcase songs from their new albums. The result: HSM’s friendship anthems were peppered with provocative moves that, well, kept the dads involved.

Even losing its biggest star didn’t hurt an ounce: Zac Efron, the big name and “matinee idol” of the gang, was off filming “Hairspray,” so Drew Seeley — Efron’s singing voice in the movie — filled in throughout the tour perfectly. (The fact that Efron was the only one with a voice double also shows he probably is the one cast member who can’t carry a similar tune.)

In typical Disney marketing fashion, the Mouse used the opportunity to tout its latest creation, Jordan Pruitt, who, of course, told everyone when they could buy her upcoming album.

High School Musical: The Concert

Staples Center, Los Angeles; 15,000; $58.50 top

Production

Presented by AEG Live. Reviewed Jan. 29, 2007.

Cast

With: Vanessa Hudgens, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel, Ashley Tisdale, Monique Coleman, Drew Seeley. Also appearing, Jordan Pruitt.
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