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Lucas Grabeel trades high school for preschool by voicing a character on Disney Junior's "Sheriff Callie's Wild West"

Lucas Grabeel trades high school for preschool by voicing a character on Disney Junior's "Sheriff Callie's Wild West"

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So what's Lucas Grabeel's favorite memory from all the "High School Musical" craziness? Was it when the soundtrack for this super-popular Disney Channel Original Movie became the best-selling album in the United States for all of 2006? Or when the cast of this TV movie traveled the globe and then performed live in front of tens of thousands of people as part of the "High School Musical: The Concert" tour?

"I have to admit that that concert tour was completely nuts," Grabeel revealed during a recent phone interview. "I mean, in May of 2007, we were booked to appear in Brazil's Estádio do Morumbi. Which is this sports stadium that seats 75,000 people. And every seat was filled. So we had 75,000 people in a stadium screaming at us and most of these kids didn't even speak English. I mean, that's Beatles level craziness. And to be onstage and have that many people screaming at you, have all that noise & energy coming at you, it's just ... indescribable."


Lucas Grabeel posted this picture of himself and Vanessa Hudgens onstage
during one of the stops on the "High School Musical: The Concert" tour.
Please note the huge audience filled with HSM fans directly behind them.

So was that Lucas enjoyed most about playing Ryan Evans in those two "High School Musical" TV movies and their theatrically-released sequel? Oddly enough, no.

"My favorite part of being associated with that franchise is when someone comes up to me now one-on-one and then tells me about how High School Musical made a real difference in their life. How that TV movie inspired them to try singing or dancing, or how my character in those movies taught them that it was okay to be a different. That they should learn to embrace that difference," Lucas continued. "I just love that something that I did -- this silly TV movie with a couple of kids singing & dancing -- could have that sort of positive impact in people's lives."


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Mind you, Grabeel hopes that the show that he's working on now for Disney Junior -- "Sheriff Callie's Wild West" -- will have a similar sort of impact on a much younger audience. The first western for preschoolers, this new animated series is aiming to use the "Cowpoke Code" as a way to teach kids age 2-7 about fairness, honesty, hospitality, cooperation and hard work.

And speaking of hard work, Lucas admits that it did take him a while to get a handle on Peck, the character that he's voicing for an animated series.


Lucas Grabeel in the recording booth as he gets ready to voice Peck
for Disney Junior's new animated series," Sheriff Callie's Wild West."
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

"Yeah, it was very challenging at first. I mean, when you voice a character on an animated series like this, it's not enough to just know how your character sounds when he or she talking. You also have to know how your character sounds when they're singing or  yelling, how they sound when they're scared," Grabeel explained. "So in the beginning, there's a lot of experimentation. As you & the guys in the recording booth feel your way along.  Try and get a full picture of how your character sounds."

"In my case, I was lucky though. All of my recording session were with Jessica DiCicco, who's a real veteran of this industry. She's been doing character voice work for years. So she kind of helped me along. Gave me confidence in what I was doing, told me what I was doing with Peck was good," Lucas continued. "And I was getting the same sort of feedback from the guys in the recording booth. So -- in the end -- I think what it's really all about when it comes to doing voice work. You have to have confidence in yourself. You have to go into that recording booth and really commit."


(L to R) Constance Marie, Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Lea Thompson, D.W.
Moffett and Lucas Grabeel on ABC Family's "Switched at Birth." Copyright
Disney / ABC Television Group. All rights reserved

And Grabeel tries to bring that exact same level of effort & commitment to everything that he does these days. Whether it's the Toby Kennish character Lucas portrays on ABC Family's hit series "Switched at Birth" or "135n8," his new music video which debuted on Billboard.com late last week.

"What can I tell you? I'm a guy who likes to keep busy," Lucas smiled. "When I'm not working on one kind of project, I want to be working on another one. Keeping as many irons in the fire as I can."


Toby the cactus, Sherrif Callie and Peck the woodpecker on Disney Junior's
"Sheriff Callie's Wild West." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

Though -- that said -- it's looking quite likely that Grabeel's new "Sheriff Callie" gig  may keep him plenty busy in the weeks & months ahead. Since this Disney / ABC Television Group series previewed back on December 13th and then officially debuted on Disney Junior back on January 20th, "Sheriff Callie's Wild West" -- thanks to the multiple episodes which have aired online or been screened through mobile devices -- has already amassed over 23 million views on the popular WATCH Disney Junior app.

Mind you, those obviously aren't "High School Musical" level numbers. But even so, they're strong enough to suggest that Disney Junior has another hit on its hand. More to the point, that Lucas Grabeel may be playing Peck, Sherrif Callie's trusty woodpecker deputy for many years yet to come.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

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