While you think you may know who would be cast as who for Beauty and The Beast, Miss Jenn switches some things up.


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While you think you may know who would be cast as who for Beauty and The Beast, Miss Jenn switches some things up.


Episode Name Typecasting
Aired 5/21/2021
Network Disney+
Directed By Kimberly McCullough
Written By Ann Kim
Newly Noted Characters
Lily Olivia Rose Keegan
Emily Addison Morgan

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Recap

Things Aren’t Quite What Was Expected – Nini, Emily, Ricky

Getting into a conservatory was a big deal for Nini, especially with the familiar face of Emily, a former rival turned friend. However, with it being clear the conservatory is rooted in terms like “Traditional Lead,” and experimenting results into being commanded to go on “Vocal Rest,” which means you shut up, things aren’t great. But with Nini uprooting her life and leaving Ricky behind for this school, she doesn’t want to complain or seem ungrateful. Instead, she wants to stick it out.

That Audition Was Cute – Lily, Big Red, Carlos, Kourtney, Gina, Ashlyn, Miss Jenn, Ricky, EJ, Seb

Miss Jenn has likely already made her picks in many people’s eyes, and the audition is a formality. For example, Ashlyn is pretty sure she is going to get Ms. Potts and already has an outfit ready. Add in no Nini, and it makes it so between Gina and the new girl Lily, it is assumed one of them will get the lead.

Lily (Olivia Rose Keegan) with a fake smile
Lily (Olivia Rose Keegan) with a fake smile

But, even with many of the cast considered pre-destined, it doesn’t mean the cast doesn’t have fun with the audition process. Ashlyn comes up with a tercet number for her, Gina, and Kourtney; Ricky is late for every part of the audition, thus leading to Miss Jenn questioning if he should be lead, but with EJ wanting to play a supporting role, the Beast can’t be him.

Though perhaps what needs to be noted the most of all this is while everyone gets along and gets a moment to shine, Seb included, Lily questions everyone’s talent. Specifically, she does this with Gina, and even snickers when Big Red flops at his audition. Thus drawing the ire from damn near everyone.

And The Cast Are… – Lily, Big Red, Carlos, Kourtney, Gina, Ashlyn, Miss Jenn, Ricky, EJ, Seb

So let’s begin with the most exciting casting: Ashlyn as Belle! Yes, the girl who seemed willing to settle for second strong ends up being the lead! With, despite Miss Jenn’s apprehension and a rather lackluster performance, Ricky being The Beast. Now, how did everyone else end up? Well, appropriately, considering her shoulder thrusts and being mid-key extra, Gina is Babette, the Feather Duster.

Running down the rest, EJ will be Gaston, Big Red will be LeFou, Seb is Chip, Carlos is Lumiere, and Kourtney will be Ms. Potts and Lily? Well, all that it appears she’ll be is a villain this season, as she calls North High after not securing the lead role – or any role worth noting.

Commentary/ Review

ASHLYN IS THE LEAD

Ashlyn with a cupcake that has a Belle figurine
Ashlyn with a cupcake that has a Belle figurine

Setting aside the idea of Ashlyn kissing her boyfriend’s best friend because that is going to be awkward, can we just appreciate her getting the lead part? Granted, was she the best? You could submit your claim, but what Miss Jenn saw beyond that is what she truly needs for a role like this: Someone who could bring the cast together.

For while Gina has pizzazz and, as said by the cast, Lily looks like a literal Disney Princess, you can’t discount Lily already rubbing people the wrong way and Gina? Well, it seems Miss Jenn’s thing with her is she’ll be a star no matter what role she plays, so having Ashlyn pushed center forward isn’t going to hurt Gina’s trajectory at all. She’ll still have her moment.

But getting back to Ashlyn, I do wonder if this may change her at all? Not being lead, making herself think groups and collaborations instead of solo, this is a shift. Granted, she was cast as Belle because she works well with everyone, but will she allow herself to have a selfish moment, let her own star power shine, or will she be a lead in name and focus on making the other person look good?

The Traditional Lead Conversation Nini Had With Emily

One of the reasons Ashlyn being the lead of Beauty & The Beast is awesome is because, by many Hollywood standards, she isn’t seen as the traditional lead, as Emily was also told. Rather, as we said in the last recap, it is usually the Ginas, the Ninis, Rickys, EJs, and Lilys as the lead. Which, with HSMTMTS seemingly being aware and addressing that, it has the opportunity to push against that without being blatant.

Emily (Addison Morgan) practicing a scene with Nini
Emily (Addison Morgan) practicing a scene with Nini

Like with Ashlyn, I love that Miss Jenn’s decisions are based on potential, leadership qualities, as well as the talent they currently have. Granted, it doesn’t explain Ricky getting the lead well, beyond slim pickings, but what can you do? Getting back to the point, I can only hope with this show self-aware of how the industry is, it can spread further throughout the Disney brand, not just in their kid/tween shows but those geared towards adults as well.

Lily Is The New Gina

Every show needs a villain, and it seems Lily will be this season’s – which leads to the question of will the show let her stay a villain? After a certain point, Gina was humanized and lost her edge. So will the same be done with Lily? Also, how will she differ from Gina, considering they are even having her go after Nini’s boyfriend, as Gina did in the first season?

Title Card - High School Musical – The Musical The Series Season 2 Episode 2
High School Musical – The Musical: The Series: Season 2/ Episode 2 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Trajectory: Plateau
With a villain who may not have much teeth, the real draw here is the show mixing up who ends up the leads in the new musical.
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Highlights
ASHLYN IS THE LEAD
The Traditional Lead Conversation Nini Had With Emily
On The Fence
Lily Is The New Gina
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