By Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

The Disney Theatrical Group is quite busy this winter advancing the High School Musical franchise. While “High School Musical 2” continues to fly off shelves and “High School Musical gets ready to roll for the cameras, Disney has audiences flocking to the live stage and ice productions around the world in record numbers. . .

High School Musical on Tour!, which officially opened in Chicago on this past August, has just announced more domestic dates for 2008. The stage show, which follows the storyline of the original film, has added 25 additional markets, including Washington DC, Baltimore, San Francisco and Dallas. By the end of 2008, it will have been attended by more than 1.8 million fans in 42 cities in more than 60 weeks.

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In addition to a previously announced UK stage tour that kicks off this month, Stage Entertainment will mount a separate production in London’s Hammersmith Apollo Theatre for a limited summer season starting June 30 with an entirely new cast and a production designed specifically for the venue. During the run, the production expects attendance to exceed 600,000 fans.

“We are overwhelmed by the success of High School Musical in all its live incarnations,” said Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Group, in a statement. “The material is incredibly strong and lends itself perfectly to the live experience. Seeing these characters portrayed live allows our audiences to bond with the story in a completely new way. More importantly, this show has been responsible for introducing millions of children to the joys of theatre and live performance. Whether they are participating in a school production or going to a professional theatre for the very first time, High School Musical has been the gateway into an entirely new world.”

High School Musical The Tour tour dates:

Jan, 29-Feb. 3 – NC Raleigh
Feb. 5-17 DC Washington
Feb. 19-March 2 MD Baltimore
Feb. 19 – March 2, 2008
March 4-9 OH Cincinnati,
March 11 -16 KYLouisville
March 18-23 IN Indianapolis
March 25-30 IA Des Moines,
April 1-6 MN Minneapolis
April 15-27 CASan Francisco
April 29-May 4 WA Spokane
May 6-18 BC Vancouver,
May 20-25 WA Seattle
May 27-June 1 OR Portland
June 10-15 CA San Jose
June 17-22 CA Costa Mesa,
June 24-29 AZ Tempe
July 15-20 MO Kansas City
July 29-Aug. 10 UT Salt Lake City

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