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Portrayed by: Zac EfronBig Man on Campus and captain of East High's basketball team, the Wildcats. He meets Gabriella at a New Years Eve karaoke party, sparking his feelings for her and a new-found interest in singing.
- The Ace: Captain of the basketball team, a good singer and really popular with girls. Though later we find out that he's not particularly happy about his position.
- Adorkable: Surprisingly, given that he's a popular jock, but his awkwardness talking to Gabriella in the first film, attempts to hide from Chad and playing with his toy robot/super-hero cape provide plenty of adorkable moments.
- Big Man on Campus: Handsome, athletic, and very well-liked and admired in school. At East High, though the whole school turns against him when he decides he wants to be something other than the star basketball player. He lampshades this to Gabriella.Gabriella: You pretty much have the school wired, don't you, Troy? Seems to me like everyone on campus wants to be your friend.Troy: Unless we lose.
- "Billy Elliot" Plot: How the Be Yourself message manifests itself in Troy, especially since his father is the basketball team's coach and a former player.
- Broken Ace: Frequently shown to be unhappy with the pressure from his friends and Dad. The final film even has his ripping down huge posters of himself around the school, and a huge part of his feelings for Gabriella are that she doesn't know him as the basketball guy and he can be himself.Troy: My parents' friends are always saying, "Your son's the basketball guy, You must be so proud"....Sometimes I don't wanna be the "basketball guy," I just wanna be a guy.
- Chick Magnet: Almost every girl at East High swoons over him, including Alpha Bitch Sharpay Evans.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: He's constantly bewildered by Sharpay's advances, doesn't realize Kelsi is star-struck just talking to him, and is adorably awkward with Gabriella, even though she's obviously as smitten as he is.
- Generation Xerox: Starts out this with his Dad, as they're both East High basketball captains leading their team in the state championships and he plans on going to his Dad's alma mater. However his interest in singing makes him realize they're Not So Similar after all.
- Hidden Depths: He and Gabriella's interest in singing kick-starts the whole plot.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: They reflect his optimistic and slightly naïve personality.
- Large Ham:
- Watch Bet On It and you'll see.
- Scream really nails Troy firmly into this trope.
- The Leader: Of the basketball team, which puts a lot of strain on him once he realizes his calling towards musical theater.
- Lovable Jock: He's very nice, despite being the star player on the basketball team.
- Nice Guy: Big time.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Chad's Red.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Chad's Manly Man
Portrayed by: Vanessa HudgensShy Teen Genius and New Transfer Student, Gabriella meets Troy at a New Years karaoke party. At East High she struggles with her attempts to perform in the musical, and her burgeoning feelings for Troy.
- Beware of the Nice Ones: As Sharpay discovers.
- Broken Ace: In the first film. She's an outstanding student, but shy and insecure as a result. It doesn't hit her quite as bad as Troy, as she seems to get over it as the series continues, but she definitely has some issues.
- Brainy Brunette: A brunette math genius.
- Bully Hunter: In the second film, when she tells Sharpay to back away from the rest of the wildcats."You're messing with my friends, my summer, and that's not okay with me!"
- The Confidant: To Troy, throughout the three films, as the only one who knows about him wanting to be more than a basketballer and his worries about college.
- Cute Bookworm: Her opening scene has her bringing a book to a party and hiding with it in the corner.
- Disappeared Dad: Her father neither shows up nor is he mentioned.
- Friendless Background: From moving around so much.
- Give Geeks a Chance: Her relationship with Troy, who is utterly smitten with her even after she admits to being a freaky genius.
- Good with Numbers: Can do the complicated equation on the board in her head.
- The Heart: Develops into one for the wildcats. They acknowledge this in the third film, when they admit they wouldn't have done the musical without her and that East High doesn't feel right with her gone.Troy: East High is a place where one person - if it's the right person - changes us all.
- Hidden Depths: Along with Troy, her auditioning for the musical drives most of the film.
- Hollywood Nerd: Played by the gorgeous Vanessa Anne Hudgens with somewhat messy hair and (occasionally) a labcoat.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: She was viewed as the 'freaky math girl' at all her other schools, though is a lot happier at East High.
- New Transfer Student: Beginning of the first movie.
- Nice Girl
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Taylor's Red.
- Shrinking Violet: Painfully so. Performing in musical theater helped her grow out of this.
- Silk Hiding Steel: A Nice Girl, but isn't afraid to stand up for herself or call people out on their mistakes.
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Subverted. She doesn't know Troy is Big Man on Campus until much later, and life would have been easier for her if he was less popular.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She stops talking to him when he turns into a jerk because of the other wildcats and says straight up she prefers the real him to the 'The-Basketball-Guy'.Gabriella: You're a cool guy Troy...but not for the reasons your friends think.
- Teen Genius: She's extremely brilliant and academically-gifted.
Portrayed by: Ashley TisdaleBlonde, bubbly, and domineering, Sharpay is the resident primadonna and very much obsessed with Troy, which, it seems, is his bad luck.
- Alpha Bitch: Zigzagged. She's a selfish Rich Bitch who often uses her money and connection to steal Troy from Gabriella, and tries to sabotage their duet performance. However, she's not popular like the typical Alpha Bitch and doesn't seem to have any friends at school and the way the basketball team talks about her, she actually comes across as incredibly unpopular. On the other hand, the "What Time Is It" song shows her as a very popular girl with a lot of adoring fans (other students) wanting her signature in their yearbooks. It's very possible they're just acquaintances/fans though, and people don't try to actually be her friends and get to know her.
- Ambition Is Evil: Many of Sharpay's Villain Songs play up her ambitions as a major trait of her character. In order, we have "Bop to the Top", "Fabulous" and "I Want it All". The titles should all be dead giveaways, though.
- Anti-Villain: In the third movie in which her motives are more understandable and sympathetic, particularly when compared to the previous two.
- Attention Whore: Very much so. She loves to be in the spotlight, and this is why she's jealous of Gabriella.
- Big Bad: The main antagonist in the first and second films.
- Breakout Character: Got her own spinoff movie, Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure.
- Brother–Sister Team: She often perform duets with her twin brother, Ryan.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: She repeatedly thinks up plans to get Troy away from Gabriella and to become her boyfriend. In every movie. Over and over.
- Daddy's Girl: As seen in the second movie, she is definitely her dad's favorite in contrast to her brother being a Momma's Boy.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: In each movie.
- Dude Magnet: Played with. She appears to be very popular with boys in the third movie (see Hello, Nurse!). However Troy doesn't like her, and the guys of the basketball team often make fun of Sharpay (even though one of their star players, Zeke, has a crush on her).
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Well, she's as close to a villain as a musical playing in high school can have anyways, and in a few of her interactions with Ryan it shows that she genuinely loves her twin brother. For example she's very upset that he turned against her in 2, awards him the Star Dazzle Award, and is genuinely happy for him winning the Juilliard scholarship.
- Evil Is Hammy: Due to Ashley Tisdale's Large Ham performance, she come off as lovable despite being the main antagonist.
- Friendless Background: At school, Ryan's the only one who hangs out with her and even he switches over to the wildcats side in #2. While she has a Girl Posse at the country club, by the time of Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, they're replaced with three entirely new girls.
- Genki Girl: She's very bubbly and energetic.
- Girly Girl: Though none of the other girls is really a tomboy, Sharpay is the girliest of them all.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: She seems to become "good" at the end of the first film, then she is suddenly worse than before in the second film, then she goes good again in the end, same for the third film although she's more mellowed out in that one.
- Hello, Nurse!: In the third movie, this is how the male students react towards her when she arrives at school.
- Jerkass: Becoming a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at the end of each movie, see above.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: How Ashley Tisdale's portrayal came off as, to the point where she became noticeably more humanized in the third film. She even got her own spinoff movie, Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, where she went from Lovable Alpha Bitch to Fallen Princess.
- Manipulative Bitch: Although all her plans to get Troy away from Gabriella inevitably fail.
- Pink Means Feminine: Very girly and fashionable, Sharpay is shown wearing a lot of pink, because, you know, she wants everything to be fabulous.
- The Primadonna: Alpha Bitch and co-president of the East High drama club.
- Rich Bitch: Her family is filthy rich, and she uses this to her full advantage to try and steal Troy in the second movie (by offering him a job and promotion in her villa, while mistreating Gabriella and the rest of his friends — whom he invited to come work with him, causing their relationship to fall apart).
- Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Troy, obviously.
- Spoiled Brat: Blonde, arrogant, spoiled rich girl who thinks everything belongs to her? Yep.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Sharpay wasn't nice in the first movie, sure, but the second movie blew her negative qualities up to ridiculous proportions. She's back to a more reasonable level of "evil" in the third.
- Unfortunate Name: Sharpay's name sounds very similar to "Shar Pei", a type of dog. May double as Punny Name, considering how bitchy she often behaves.
- Villainous Crush: The main antagonist who has a crush on The Hero.
Portrayed by: Lucas GrabeelSharpay's campier and far more passive twin brother.
- Anti-Villain: Being Sharpay's sidekick, he serves as one of the first movie's antagonists, but he's obviously the nicer of the two. He's even more of one in the third movie, in which he is a reluctant participant in her crazy schemes.
- Brother–Sister Team: He often perform duets with his twin Sharpay.
- Camp Straight: He's a drama club member who often wears flashy and fashionable outfits and is generally very flamboyant, but is paired up with Kelsi in the third movie. Might be Ambiguously Bi, considering the subtext he has with Chad in 2.
- Character Development: Ryan was first introduced as Sharpay's loyal sidekick, but after being mistreated by his sister too much, he began hanging out with the Wildcats and becomes noticeably more independent.
- Deadpan Snarker: After growing out of his sister's shadow, Ryan becomes a lot more critical towards Sharpay's antics in the third movie, though he would still sometimes play along with it. For example, I Want It All has him snark at Sharpay throughout the first few lines of the song and his response towards her drama at the fact that Troy, of all people, is a rival/contender for the Juilliard Scholarship:Sharpay: How can you be thinking about lunch at a time like this?Ryan: Because it's lunch time?
- The Dragon: To his sister early on.
- Dumb Blonde: In the first movie he's unable to read "Go Drama Club!" on the basketball team's shirts even though he is in the drama club. However this is averted in the sequels, where he seems noticeably smarter. The Fandom has decided to just make him dyslexic to explain it.
- Extreme Doormat: Usually submissive and following Sharpay’s orders, until he finally begins to step out of his sister's shadow in the second film.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: He seems to become "good" at the end of the first film, he's good in the second, then he is back on Sharpay's side in the third film and they both go good again in the end anyway. Throughout Senior Year he is noticeably more reluctant about being mean and snarks at Sharpay a lot more. He also "turns good" a lot quicker than before.
- Hidden Depths: Turns out to be a pretty good baseball player. He's also not just Sharpay's somewhat talented sidekick but turns out to be much better at the whole showbiz thing than her. He's such a good choreographer that Juilliard extends a scholarship to him even though they said they would only grant one and already gave that to Kelsi.
- Homoerotic Subtext: Lucas Grabeel wanted Ryan to be gay and end up with Chad and played him that way for two movies. As a result Ryan has some of this with Chad in the second film since Corbin Bleu just rolled with it. Gone by the third movie however.
- Grew a Spine: At the end of the second movie, he stood up against his sister's selfishness and helped the Wildcats perform on her show. In the third movie, he was assigned to choreograph the whole senior performance, which he dealt with splendidly.
- Momma's Boy: In contrast to his sisters Daddy's Girl status. While the Evans family is in general very affectionate he is closer to his mom than his dad.
- Morality Pet: No matter what else you can say about Sharpay, it's clear she really loves Ryan, and the two have a tight relationship, even if Ryan doesn't always agree with her.
- Nice Guy: He's very nice and helpful to Gabriella and her friends in the second film.
- Nice Hat: He seems to have a collection of hats as in every scene he is in he has a different hat on, aside from a few times when he's on stage but even then he'll include them if he can.
- Spoiled Sweet: Once he steps out of his sister's shadow he is a perfectly nice person that literally everyone likes. Contrasts nicely with Sharpay's Spoiled Brat.
Portrayed by: Corbin BleuBlack Best Friend to Troy and a member of the basketball team.
- Angry Black Man: Chad seems to exist largely for the purpose of angrily over-reacting to things.
- Beta Couple: With Taylor in the second and third film.
- Black Best Friend: To Troy.
- Easily Forgiven: Rather jarring in the first film despite a lack of a real apology.
- Homoerotic Subtext: With Ryan in the second movie due to Lucas Grabeel and Corbin Bleu's intentionally flirty performance. Gone in the third movie, however.
- Jerk Jock: To an extent, before his Character Development. While not overtly mean, he does help manipulate Troy and Gabriella to keep them apart.
- The Lancer: To Troy.
- Lovable Jock: During the first film he upgrades from a Jerk Jock to this, when he starts being supportive of Troy along with the rest of the team.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Troy's blue.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly man to Troy's sensitive guy
- Token Minority Couple: With Taylor.
Portrayed by: Monique ColemanBlack Best Friend to Gabriella and captain of the school's scholastic decathlon team.
- Academic Alpha Bitch: She is the president of the science club at East High and a member of the school's national decathlon team. She wants Gabriella to join the team to beat their rivals in West High and be involved in nothing else.
- Beta Couple: Got together Chad in the second and third film.
- Black and Nerdy: Black, and very intelligent as captain of the decathlon team.
- Black Best Friend: She's Gabriella's best friend, and was the only person to know about her freshman's program in Stanford University.
- Control Freak: She loves the feeling of being in control.
- Extracurricular Enthusiast: Captain of the Chem Club and Scholastic Decathlon, Student Body President, Year Book Editor...
- Go-Getter Girl: Taylor is driven and ambitious especially when it comes to her academic achievements.
- Hollywood Nerd: Every single character who's part of the "brainiac" table is this.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: She's much more outspoken and aggressive (red) than Gabriella (blue).
- Sassy Black Woman: A very confidant black girl with an attitude. Matches with Chad's Angry Black Man.
- Token Minority Couple: She's paired up with Chad, the other black main cast.
Portrayed By: Olesya RulinA composer and member of the Drama Club, she helps Troy and Gabriella audition against Ryan and Sharpay.
- Grew a Spine: She is very timid and was easily intimidated by Sharpay's antic, but later stands up against her in the first movie's climax, when she insists on performing the piano for Troy and Gabriella's late performance. In the third movie, she was given charge for the musical composition for the entire Senior performance.
- Hollywood Nerd: She had to hidden under hats and glasses (which she doesn't even need), and she's still very attractive.
- Meganekko: A shy nerdy girl who wears glasses.
- Nice Girl
- Nice Hat: Except for a couple of scenes in the third movie, she's never seen without a hat.
- The Quiet One: In the first film.
- The Reliable One: The only one who supports Troy and Gabriella trying out for the musical and works behind the scenes to keep every show together.
- Shrinking Violet: Initially, though she grows out of it.
Portrayed By: Chris Warren JrA member of the basketball team, who has a crush on Sharpay.
- Adorkable: His earnest love for baking and endearing crush on Sharpay make him look adorable.
- Dogged Nice Guy: He's infatuated with Sharpay, who only has eyes for the Big Man on Campus, Troy. However, he eventually won her heart by his cooking.
- Hidden Depths: A basketball player who loves baking.
- Lovable Jock: He's one of the nicest members of the basketball team.
- Nice Guy: A sweet guy to be around.
- Nice Hat: He wears a chef's hat in the second movie.
- Real Men Cook: Zeke loves to bake.
- Supreme Chef: He's very good at baking, and his cookies is what made Sharpay fall in love with him.
- Through His Stomach: Zeke manages to win Sharpay's heart (at least by the end of the first movie) by baking her more of his delicious cookies.
Portrayed By: Alyson ReedHome-room teacher of the gang and head of East High's Drama department, who has an ongoing rivalry with Jack Bolton.
- Berserk Button: Cell phones. Especially in the theater.note
- Cool Teacher: Upgrades to this in the third film, especially when she suggests the wildcats do a musical based on their own experiences at East High.
- Drama Queen: Kind of comes with the job.
- Large Ham: Probably the biggest example in the whole film. And that's saying something.
- Stern Teacher: She's pretty harsh to students auditioning for the show and even outright refuses to let Troy and Gabriella try out because they're a few minutes late. To be fair, it's obvious her work is overlooked because of East High's focus on basketball and she's very protective of the drama department because of it.
- Took a Level in Kindness: By the end of the first film.
Portrayed By: Bart JohnsonCoach of East High's basket ball team and Troy's dad.
- Berserk Button: Don't ever miss basketball practice. For any reason.
- "Billy Elliot" Plot: He's furious at Troy for auditioning for the musical instead of focusing completely on basketball. Even in the third film, when he's accepted singing as a hobby, he's not happy to learn Troy's up for a scholarship at Juilliard. He does come around in the end and cheers with the rest of the audience when Troy announces he's gonna stick to basketball and singing both.
- Establishing Character Moment: He's first introduced playing basketball with Troy and being confused that a little thing like the New Year could get in the way of their practice.
- Generation Xerox: He initially views Troy as this, as they're both East High basketball captains, both lead their teams to victory in the state championships and he plans for Troy to attend his alma mater. Then of course Troy gets interested in singing, derailing things a bit.
- Parents as People: He may struggle seeing Troy as his son, not just the basketball star but in the end does genuinely does his best. Plus, coaching the team is his job so he's in a tough position.
- Stage Dad: Put's a huge amount of pressure on Troy to win the state championship, both as his son and captain of the basketball team. He later acknowledges he pushed Troy too hard and is more understanding in the second and third film.Jack: "But you're not just a guy Troy, you're the playmaker. And what you do affects not only you but the whole school."
- Took a Level in Kindness: He's a lot more supportive of Troy in the second and third film.
Portrayed By: Socorro HerreraGabriella's mom and seemingly solo parent.
- Doting Parent: Not the worst example, but she does get a little over-enthusiastic about Gabriella's acceptance to Stanford.
- Glamorous Single Mother: She and Gabriella seem comfortably off despite her being the only provider.
- Good Parents: Reassures Gabriella to just be herself rather than pressuring her about academics.
- Satellite Character: Apart from being Gabriella's mother, not much is known about her. We never even find out her first name.
- Unnamed Parent: Her real name was never revealed.