Olivia Rodrigo's popularity has eclipsed that of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, thus it's understandable that her role had to be shortened a bit in season 3.
In the latest series of episodes, the 'Good 4 U' and 'Drivers License' hitmaker got a new character, playing her dad.
"Jesse is an old pal of mine," showrunner Tim Federle said in an exclusive interview with Digital Spy. "We're both Broadway guys from New York." Jesse texted me and I was like, "Do you have any interest in playing Olivia Rodrigo's dad?" and he responded, "Yes. Yes, I do."
"Jesse is as famous as he is, and he's just won a Tony Award, which is really cool. But I think sometimes this business is really: who do you know? Who do you know will send positive vibes to the set?
"He was just a joy and a masterclass, walking onto the set and being an absolute dream, and being a fanboy of Olivia, which was wonderful to witness."
Federle made the decision to reduce her commitment to the show as Rodrigo's music career began to take hold.
"I went to Disney and said, 'I think Olivia should travel the world. This is her ambition. And I think we should do the right thing and allow Olivia's musical career to blossom," he said.
"I had Olivia's help in that, and I had Disney's help in that." We all worked together to give her I think and hope a fantastic three-season reunion for those who love the OG High School Musical series, while also recognizing that there's so much talent in this cast, and there are other stories we can tell.
The series High School Musical: The Musical: The Musical is now available on Disney+, and new season 3 episodes will be released every Wednesday.