I Pieced Together The Plot Of «Twinkle Towne» From «High School Musical» Based On What We Know

"Обладание всякого рода благами - это еще не все. Получать наслаждение от обладания ими - вот в чем состоит счастье." Пьер Бомарше ZM
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Because «Bop to the Top» and «Breaking Free» exist in the same show.

My friends and I just rewatched the High School Musical trilogy over Zoom during this quarantime, and — of course — it held up.

But watching HSM in 2020 has reopened a question that has haunted me for the past 14 years: What ~actually~ is the plot of Twinkle Towne the musical, aka the musicale written and composed by musical theater prodigy Kelsi?


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

While the whole movie centers around a musical, literally all we see is up to the callback stage! Which means we have absolutely no idea what the friggin’ musical was even about.

Anyway, because I have nothing but time, I decided to piece together the plot of Twinkle Towne based on the limited context clues from the film — the set pieces, the character names, and, of course, the songs.


Disney

I’ve seen other people float their theories on the internet before, and of course there is no RIGHT answer here. This is just where my brain took me during this time.

Let’s start with the title. Twinkle Towne is clearly supposed to be reminiscent of Tinseltown, a nickname for Hollywood.


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

The spelling of Towne leads me to believe the film is set in Old Hollywood, maybe in like the ’40s? The switch from «Tinseltown» to «Twinkle Towne» has to do with the plot, which I’ll get to in a second.

We have our leads, Arnold and Minnie, a famous Hollywood duo with a multi-picture deal at a studio like MGM but not ~actually MGM~. Let’s call it…NTN Studios.


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

When I think about Arnold and Minnie, I picture a pair like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers or something. They have starred in several big-budget massive Hollywood hits together and are MEGA FAMOUS. Their movies are musicals and they’re totally corny and cheesy, but they’ve made Arnold and Minnie household names.

This explains a lot of the seemingly random costumes and set pieces for the musicale — the camel! The tree! The moon! They’re all various set pieces from the comically bad (but ultra successful) movies produced by this studio.

I like to think that the opening number of the musical, which we will tragically never hear, takes place on the set of a movie that features a camel.

Arnold and Minnie have never been romantically involved — in fact, they don’t even really get along that well — but it’s in their studio contracts that they are in a PR relationship.


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

And actually, Arnold has always kind of held a torch for Minnie but covers it up by bickering with her.

Arnold is content to keep making these corny movie musicals since they’ve made him rich and famous, but Minnie is itching to get out of her contract.

The president of the movie studio is named Dennis Schain, known by the studio as The Incredible Mr. Schain because he keeps producing hit after hit.


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

Mr. Schain is only motivated by how well these movies do at the box office, which means as long as Arnold and Minnie are selling tickets, he’s NEVER letting them out of their contracts!

Minnie reaches her breaking point when she gets the script for their next film, Twinkle Lights, and has a meltdown at rehearsals as she and Arnold learn one of the songs from the film while standing in front of a gigantic moon backdrop.


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

«Bop, bop, bop? Bop…to the top?? Arnold, these lyrics are humiliating! Also, why are they having us sing lyrics in Spanish when neither of us even speaks Spanish??? I’m a fucking artist, Arnold, and I can’t do this anymore! I won’t!»

Meanwhile, media personality Johnny Omni — let’s say he’s basically the Perez Hilton of the 1940s — has beef with Arnold and Minnie because they banned him from doing interviews with them.


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

Johnny Omni could have been played by Richard Olson or Mark Hoffeling, but we’ll never know because we literally only see the callbacks for Arnold and Minnie!

Unfortunately, Johnny Omni was spying on the rehearsal where Minnie broke down, and he leaks a story about Minnie being a monster on set that lands on the front page of all the papers the next day.


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

At first, Minnie thinks it might actually be her ticket out of the contract, but it ends up making her infamous. The public has turned against her, but Mr. Schain is happy because it has drummed up interest in Twinkle Lights.

Late one night amid the fallout, Minnie turns to Arnold for comfort — even though she has embarrassed them both, he’s the only one who can really understand what she’s going through.

«It’s hard to believe that I couldn’t see — that you were always there beside me,» Arnold declares his love to Minnie as he starts singing «What I’ve Been Looking For.»


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

«Thought I was alone, with no one to hold. But you were always right beside me,» Minnie agrees. It’s official. They decide to make their PR relationship a real relationship. Yes, they are ~ in love ~.

Arnold and Minnie concoct a plan together — now that they’re «actually» a couple, they will stage a massive falling out and messy breakup between them. So big that the studio and Mr. Schain will have no choice but to let Minnie out of her contract because Arnold demands that they can’t work together anymore.

The plan works like a charm! Minnie is now free to explore more serious projects and work, while Arnold still has a deal with the studio with a new leading lady. The world thinks they are apart, but really, behind the scenes, they’re a couple and they’re happier than ever.

«I know the world may see us, in a way that’s different from who we are. Creating space between us, ’till we’re separate hearts.»

«But your faith it gives me strength, strength to believe — we’re breaking free!»


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

It’s the duet from the second act, after all! Minnie has literally broken free from her contract, plus Arnold and Minnie are free to have a private relationship away from media scrutiny.

It’s true, Arnold and Minnie broke free and shattered the illusions of what life is like in Hollywood.


Disney / Via animationscreencaps.com

And, for the record, I do believe that Sharpay and Ryan deserved the lead roles…but that is neither here nor there.

And Kelsi deserves all the Tonys.

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