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.
The film, which also starred Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, and Monique Coleman in pivotal roles, became a major success and helped Efron gain recognition among teenage audiences.
After lending his voice to the commercially successful computer-animated film The Lorax (2012), he appeared as the male lead in the romantic drama The Lucky One (2012), based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks.
The film became a major box office success despite negative reviews from critics.
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 received mixed to negative reviews from critics.
Efron reprised his role of Troy Bolton in High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008), the first film in the High School Musical franchise to receive a theatrical release.
Efron’s singing talents were disputed when it was revealed that his voice had been blended with Drew Seeley’s on the soundtrack, but Efron clarified that the songs (written for a tenor) were written before he was cast and therefore did not suit his more baritone vocal range.
He has since appeared in films like New Year's Eve (2011), The Lucky One (2012), Neighbors (2014), Dirty Grandpa (2016), Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016), and The Greatest Showman (2017).
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.
The film earned mostly positive reviews from critics.
He next played the title role in the supernatural romantic drama Charlie St.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).