High School Musical Show: Why Olivia Rodrigo Has A Smaller Role In Season 3

Olivia Rodrigo is set to reprise her role in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series season 3, but her involvement is confirmed to be significantly smaller. Previously, despite the news that the musical drama is renewed for another season, the lead actress’ status in the series has been the subject of speculation, fueled even more by the showrunner’s comments. While the teenage pop star has shared that she is still contractually bound to do the show for two more years, Rodrigo’s role in HSMTMTS season 3 is now in a reduced capacity only.

Rodrigo plays ​​Nini Salazar-Roberts, who is the central character of the Disney+ original show HSMTMTS. In the first season’s production of High School Musical, she is cast as Gabriella Montez, a role originated by Vanessa Hudgens in the film trilogy. Aside from her theatrical aspirations, Nini is also involved in a complicated relationship with Ricky Bowen, portrayed by Joshua Bassett. However, as the show progresses, its storyline shifts away from Nini and towards the other characters. In fact, in a move that mirrors reality, HSMTMTS season 2 ends with Rodrigo’s character moving on from high school theater shows and contacting a music producer to further her career.

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It then comes as no surprise that Olivia Rodrigo is no longer the main character in HSMTMTS season 3. After all, since her initial involvement in the show, Rodrigo is catapulted into international stardom. Her success comes from her 2021 breakout song “Drivers License,” followed by her immensely popular singles “Deja Vu” and “Good 4 U,” whose music video references movies and other pop albums. Consequently, these achievements make it difficult for Rodrigo to balance her acting and music careers, especially because she has the intent to focus more on the latter. In an interview with The Guardian, the singer-songwriter reflects on the difference between her two worlds, describing acting as “based on being a good liar and presenting a version of yourself that’s believable, and being a songwriter [as] the complete opposite.”

Within the year of her debut single’s release, Rodrigo has gained not only a massive following, but also numerous accolades and nominations. Her debut studio album Sour has also received universal critical acclaim, becoming the longest-reigning number-one album by a female artist on the Billboard 200 chart of 2021. Inspired by singer-songwriter and actress Taylor Swift, Rodrigo’s music has broken several Spotify records, with “Drivers License” being the year’s most-streamed song globally. Dubbed by critics as the “voice of Gen-Z,” the rising star is named the Entertainer of the Year by Time, and she is also Billboard’s 2021 Woman of the Year. Furthermore, she has been nominated for seven categories at the 64th Grammy Awards, including the highly coveted Big Four Awards: Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.

Seeing how Rodrigo’s fame is not going away anytime soon, her schedule is only going to be more hectic with time. Aside from her red-carpet appearances left and right, she has an upcoming Sour Tour, with stops in North America and Europe. In addition, her second album is already in the works, making it even more difficult for her to devote her energy to acting. So, expectedly, after the season 2 ending of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, the show will revolve around the remaining characters’ experience of a sleep-away theater camp. In that way, Olivia Rodrigo's smaller role gives her the freedom to pursue her music career even further.

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