With the release of Season 2 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, we love seeing the greater ensemble take on more of a central role at East High. A “big” part of that ensemble is Big Red, portrayed by Long Island-native Larry Saperstein.
Larry spoke exclusively with Distractify to share his experiences on set, how Big Red went from tech crew guy to tap dancing fiend, and what it was like to share the screen with his fellow young actors. Plus, we got a little look into the behind-the-scenes experience for the talented young actors.
Larry Saperstein has been tap dancing since he was a kid, but Big Red wasn’t supposed to.
Larry’s audition process was pretty unconventional. He was actually the last series regular cast in HSMTMTS, so he began filming in Salt Lake City, Utah just a few weeks after his first audition. But the craziest part was how he actually changed the fate of Big Red. As Larry told Distractify:
“I was really supposed to be somebody that was completely foreign to all of the musical stuff that was happening. But when they cast me and saw that I could do the tap dancing and that I was a dancer and had a singing background and all of that, they were really more excited about working that into my character as a surprise at the very end of the season.”
We got to witness that surprise! And now, for Season 2 of HSMTMTS, we may get to see even more of Larry’s tap dancing chops.
Larry Saperstein shared how COVID-19 brought the ‘HSMTMTS’ cast closer together.
Working on a TV show set isn’t easy in the best of times, but it’s especially challenging during a pandemic. While a small portion of Season 2 was filmed before the lockdown, most of the new season was filmed in the fall of 2020. This meant that Disney had to accommodate restrictions while keeping the cast and crew as safe and healthy as possible.
But it also meant that the cast got to spend even more time together than they would have otherwise. “We had more game nights and more time to really bond,” Larry reminisced. “Throughout the story of Season 2 you see the drama club and those kids become even more of a family… and I think that’s really reflective of what we were all going through as the actors playing them.”
Larry knew Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License” was going to be a big hit.
Olivia Rodrigo’s star power really came through earlier this year when “Driver’s License” went viral, and since she plays Nini, one of Big Red’s best friends, Larry and Olivia got to spend a ton of time together.
“I was lucky because I heard ‘Driver’s License’ a little bit before it came out,” Larry shared. “I remember her playing it for me and I told her, ‘Olivia, you wrote a hit! It’s gonna be a big deal!’ and then of course it was the biggest song in history.”
Even though we may have heard of drama going on behind the scenes of HSMTMTS, Larry said the cast has all been really supportive of each other. “I think we’re all just so proud of [Olivia]. I think we want everybody in our cast to take over the world and our producers will say the same thing.”
As for Larry, he’s never worked with a group of young people that are “this insanely talented,” so the young actors have all gotten to “trade sparks” as they’ve grown closer together.
Larry actually even knew one of the incoming cast members, Andrew Barth Feldman, from the Long Island theater scene. In Season 2, there are even more incredibly talented young people joining the cast of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series living their dreams, as well as their characters’ dreams!
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 2 premieres on Disney+ on May 14.