HSM series star Frankie Rodriguez talks LGBTQ+ representation

Frankie Rodriguez is rising to fame as a star of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” The Disney+ show, inspired by the High School Musical franchise, is becoming a fan favorite. The show has even been picked up for a second season! The characters of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series are winning over the hearts of millions. But one in particular is making Disney history. Carlos, played by Frankie Rodriguez, is the student choreographer for the East High Drama Club and is openly gay. In episode 5 of the series, called “Homecoming,” Carlos asks his crush Seb to the homecoming dance. But things don’t go as planned and Carlos sings an original song “Born to Be Brave.” YEM spoke with Frankie Rodriguez about joining the musical series and what it’s like to play one of Disney’s first openly gay characters.

Young Entertainment Mag: First, what was the audition process like for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series? And what was your reaction when you found out you got the role?

Frankie Rodriguez: I had a total of 5 auditions for HSMTMTS. And I remember I got the call I booked the role while I was on my way to ANOTHER audition. Needless to say, I couldn’t focus on that audition because I was so excited.

YEM: Were you a fan of High School Musical beforehand? And do you have a favorite song from the series?

Frankie: 100% yes! I LOVED “Fabulous” from the second movie.

YEM: The episode, Homecoming was a coming out episode for Carlos, was it hard to film something like that on screen?

Frankie: Not at all. It was actually such a special and history making moment for Disney. I will forever count that day on set as one of the best days of my life. I’m so proud of that episode.

YEM: Are we going to see more Carlos and Seb throughout the season (I totally swooned when he finally showed up)? Will there be a kiss?

Frankie: One of the amazing things about getting a second season, is that anything is possible! And with Joe Serafini (Seb) getting bumped up to a series regular, something tells me the writers have something up their sleeve for Seb and Carlos.

YEM: So what has been your favorite scene to shoot? What about it makes it your favorite?

Frankie: The homecoming dance scene was an absolute blast to film! Everyone looked so amazing and the energy was so electric. One of the best days of my life.

YEM: Playing Carlos seems like an important role for young adults struggling with their own sexuality. What are you hoping the audience takes away from Carlos and how he deals with it? What has the feedback been?

Frankie: I hope they see Carlos living his life in the most honest way possible and that it inspires them to do the same. The response has been so amazing. Everyone has been so excited and supportive. Makes me so happy to be continuing this story.

YEM: What’s it like playing someone who has to take control, lead and push? Is it hard giving orders, and telling others what he or she or they are doing right or wrong?

Frankie: I loved it! Haha. it was so much fun.

YEM: Finally, it was announced that there will be a season 2. But that it won’t be tackling High School Musical 2. What production would you like to see the cast tackle in season 2?

Frankie: Ohhhhh. I hope we get to do something magical like Into The Woods.

The entire first season of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” is now streaming on Disney+!

UPDATE: 

Disney just announced that the musical section for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 2 will be…Beauty and the Beast! After the announcement was made, Frankie Rodriguez told YEM how he feels about the news. Check it out!

“I am so excited that the HSMTMTS season 2 musical is Beauty and the Beast!” Frankie said. “It was the first professional musical I had ever seen on stage. So there are a lot of special memories associated with Beauty and the Beast and I cannot wait to make more memories this season.”

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