Sharpay Evans may have earned the rep as High School Musical’s villain – but is she, really? While I agree that she could use a little more tact, she definitely deserves more recognition for what she was forced to put up with.
1) Her song arrangements were always superior.
I’m sorry, but “You are the Music In Me – Sharpay Version” will always hit differently than Troy and Gabriella’s. The back-up vocals? The piano solo? The entire last twenty seconds with that riff? C’mon.
And don’t even get me started with her version of “What I’ve Been Looking For.”
2) She earned the lead in the school musical.
Sharpay was clearly more experienced than Gabriella. She worked incredibly hard for a role in the musical, and she had previously starred in seventeen productions. Then, out of nowhere, a girl who could barely summon the courage to sing karaoke on New Year’s Eve stole her spot. Is it so wrong that she felt threatened and betrayed?
3) She was also on time for the musical auditions, and she was way more prepared.
Every actor knows – “If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re early, you’re on time.” Sharpay showed up right on the dot for her audition, and she came equipped with the song and choreography memorized. Miss Darbus made an exception for Gabriella, which was completely unfair. Who wouldn’t be furious?
4) Sharpay was gracious about her role in the musical, even though she lost out to a girl with no theatre training or skills in time management.
At the end of High School Musical, Sharpay congratulated Gabriella, wishing her luck and even accepting a role as her understudy. Not to mention the fact that at the beginning of High School Musical 2, Gabriella thanked Sharpay for her support during the show, mentioning that Sharpay taught her vocal exercises to prepare. That is called theatre etiquette.
5) Sharpay actually needed the theatre credits for her career.
Sharpay knew unequivocally that she wanted to pursue theatre professionally. Thus, her high school roles actually mattered – unlike Gabriella, who ended up going to Stanford Law. Imagine her devastation when she wasn’t able to secure a lead in her junior or senior year.
6) She suffered the brunt of being the only theatre kid in the school, and her sense of identity was threatened.
Based on the enthusiastic performance of “Stick to the Status Quo” in the first HSM film, East High had a very specific hierarchy. Each student knew their designated role, and it was not common for anyone to branch out of their specific passions. Thus, it made sense that Sharpay was territorial over her place in the school. She accepted being different because it was worth it for her art – and then the popular kids, who already had their own passions, tried to take everything from her.
7) She offered to help Troy secure his college future – and he just blew her off to hang out with his friends.
Sharpay genuinely cared about Troy’s dreams, and she tried to set him up for some excellent opportunities. She helped him make connections with college representatives, so he would have a better chance at a scholarship. Clearly, Troy’s friends did not also have his interests at heart, as they chastised him for prioritizing his education.
8) Sharpay is often accused of trying to sabotage Gabriella and Troy – but that’s actually what everyone else in the movie did.
In High School Musical, Troy and Gabriella’s friends set up a hidden camera and manipulated Troy into badmouthing Gabriella. They then forced Gabriella to watch it. While it’s true that Sharpay was wrong to pursue Troy, she was certainly not the only person (or arguably, the worst person) to try and destroy their relationship.
9) She encompassed the entire message of the film by being unapologetically herself.
High School Musical’s theme is all about authenticity. While all of the other Wildcats struggled to stay true to themselves, Sharpay knew exactly who she was and always went after her goals with fervor.
10) Right after she had to digest the news that Gabriella tried to steal her spot in the show, Gabriella spilled cheese fries on her.
Does this even need an explanation? Like sure, it was an accident but…