Corbin Bleu will be the first "High School Musical" alum to hit Broadway, with the thesp stepping into the lead role of Tony-winning tuner "In the Heights" early next year.

Bleu, who appeared as basketball player Chad in both "HSM" telepics as well as the 2008 "HSM" feature, will play young bodega owner Usnavi in "Heights." His 13-week stint in the musical runs Jan. 25-April 25.

Casting has the potential to prompt a significant boost at the box office for "Heights." Celebs with an avid fanbase (such as the youthful one generated by the "HSM" franchise) can pull in new audiences for a Main Stem production, particularly when the target demos of the show and the star overlap. "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino's stint in the lead role of 2005 tuner "The Color Purple," for instance, resulted in a major sales spike that helped extend the Broadway lifespan of "Purple."

Corbin Bleu heads for 'Heights' - Entertainment News, Legit News, Media - Variety