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Efron's career reached a turning point with the teen musical television film High School Musical (2006), which premiered on the Disney Channel in January 2006.
The film, which has been described as a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, saw Efron playing the male lead Troy Bolton, a high school basketball player who feels conflicted when he finds himself interested in participating in the school musical with Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens), a girl from the scholastic decathlon team.
Efron next appeared as a part of the large ensemble cast in Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve (2011), which depicted a series of holiday vignettes of different groups of characters.
The film received almost unanimously negative reviews from critics, but became a major success at the box office.
He performed in shows such as Gypsy; Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up; Little Shop of Horrors; and The Music Man.
He was recommended to an agent in Los Angeles by his drama teacher, Robyn Metchik (the mother of actors Aaron Michael Metchik and Asher Metchik).
He also starred alongside Nicole Kidman, Matthew Mc Conaughey, David Oyelowo, and John Cusack in The Paperboy (2012), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012 and received a wider release later that year.The film became a major box office success despite negative reviews from critics.He also starred in the drama At Any Price, which premiered at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival, and the historical drama Parkland, which premiered at the 2013 Venice International Film Festival.Efron was next seen playing the role of Link Larkin in the musical comedy film Hairspray (2007), based on the 2002 Broadway musical of the same name.The film became a major commercial and critical success upon its release in July 2007.