Vanessa Hudgens, ‘Rent Live’: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Vanessa Hudgens

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Vanessa Hudgens attends the press junket for "Rent: Live" in Century City, Calif.

Vanessa Hudgens will grace TV screens tonight in FOX’s Rent: Live playing Maureen Johnson, the play’s bisexual performance artist and girlfriend of Joanne.

Hudgens shot to fame thanks to the Disney’s High School Musical franchise, but acting isn’t the only creative endeavor the 30-year-old pursues. She’s also a stage performer and singer with experience on local stages and Broadway.

Here’s everything you need to know about Vanessa Hudgens.

1. High School Musical and Career Boost from Disney

From 2006-2008, Hudgens starred as Gabriella Montez in High School Musical, High School Musical 2, and High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

In 2006 and 2007, Hudgens went on tour with her fellow castmates performing at 52 shows total in North and Latin America. The tour also served to promote the debut album of three of its members: V by Hudgens, Headstrong by Ashley Tisdale, and Another Side by Corbin Bleu.

Entertainment Weekly put High School Musical on its end-of-the-decade “best-of” list, saying, “Call it children stuff. But HSM became a billion-dollar hit across screens big and small thanks to a love of song, dance, and happy endings. And that’s pure, old-fashioned showbiz.”

2. Riding High on the High School Musical Success, Hudgens Released Two Albums

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Her debut album V was released in 2006; it was followed by Identified two years later.

V was certified Gold in February of 2007. The album peaked at number 24 on the Billboard 200 the year of its release. Although her follow-up didn’t reach certified status, it did hit number 23 on the same Billboard chart.

Hudgens also appeared on cast member Corbin Bleu’s “Still There for Me” from his album Another Side.

3. Before She Was Gabriella, Hudgens Had A Healthy Career Start On Stage

Starting in 1998, Hudgens performed in musical theater as a singer, appearing in local productions of Carousel, The Wizard of Oz, The King and I, The Music Man, and Cinderella, among others.

In 2015 she made her Broadway debut in the titular role of the beloved Academy Award- and Tony Award-winning film and stage musical Gigi. The show failed to connect with critics and audiences and closed after 20 previews and 86 performances. She returned to the stage in 2016 with her starring role as Betty Rizzo in Fox’s Grease: Live!, which was nominated for 10 Emmy Awards and won five.

4. Hudgens Dated Co-Star Zac Efron in 2005

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Hudgens started dating High School Musical co-star Zac Efron in 2005. The couple was a frequent target for the media and the relationship, in turn, helped make both actors household names. Hudgens and Efron broke up in December of 2010.

Hudgens currently dates actor Austin Butler and has been since 2011.

The actress has remained close with co-star and actress Ashley Tisdale; Hudgens was a bridesmaid at Tisdale’s wedding on September 8, 2014.

5. Post-Disney Career Happenings

In addition to tonight’s Rent: Live performance, Hudgens has been casted in Bad Boys for Life (aka Bad Boys 3) which comes out next year. Hudgens, along with Alexander Ludwig and Charles Melton, will play a modern, highly specialized police unit that collides with the old school Bad Boys (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence) when a new threat emerges in Miami, reported Variety. The movie started filming this month and will hit theaters Jan. 17, 2020.

Hudgens has certainly been busy. Most recently she starred in the Netflix film The Princess Switch and the comedy Second Act opposite Jennifer Lopez. She can also be seen in the Netflix thriller Polar starring Hannibal‘s Mads Mikkelsen.

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