Vanessa Hudgens Debuts on Broadway in 'Gigi'

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Vanessa Hudgens, known for her role in Disney's High School Musical and on the big screen alongside Selena Gomez in Spring Breakers, has made her debut in a leading Broadway role. The actress, 26, debuted as the title character in Gigi at the Neil Simon Theatre. Although the show doesn't open to the public until April 8th, Vanessa Hudgens shines several times this week in preview performances. Critics are expected to attend these early shows.

This is a milestone for Vanessa Hudgens, and she shared her excitement in a photo posted to her Instagram account.

"Best. Night. Of. My. Life. Thank god for @gigionbroadway for turning my dreams into my reality. So thankful to have the support of my family, friends and fans. Andd big thanks to the genius director himself, Mr. Eric Schaeffer!" she captioned the photo she posted on Friday.

On the opening night of preview performances, Vanessa Hudgens posted this picture of herself to Instagram.

She captioned this photo, "I can't believe it. In less than 1 hour I'll be performing for an audience on Broadway. I made it!!!!!! Just shows, work hard on what you want and at the right time... The stars align... And you find yourself right where you're meant to be. Only you decide your destiny."

Vanessa Hudgens has very clearly decided on her own destiny. She has worked hard--especially hard since her days as a Disney darling. When you think back to when Vanessa Hudgens broke into the entertainment scene--back when she was dating her High School Musical costar Zac Efron--it's beyond obvious how hard she has worked to make it all the way to Broadway. This isn't Hudgens's first foray onto the Broadway scene, however. She had a role back in 2010 in the musical Rent.

Vanessa spoke with Playbill about her role in Gigi.

"The fact that there are some amazing women who have played Gigi—Leslie Caron, Audrey Hepburn—those are some pretty epic footsteps to follow in!" she said. "I thought, 'Why not take that on? That'll be a good challenge!'"

"I feel like it's rare that you get to find a character that has such an amazing transformation, character arc and someone who is so pure and honest and true to who they are," Vanessa Hudgens added. "She's an amazing role model. I wanted to be her, so now I get to be."

Do you think starring in a Broadway musical will make Vanessa Hudgens think twice about returning to L.A.? At the very least, it will likely open up even more exciting roles for the actress. Fans needn't worry about Hudgens forgetting where she came from. She has already signed on to star in Fox's upcoming live version of Grease, alongside Dancing With the Stars judge and former pro dancer, Julianne Hough.

Congratulations to Vanessa Hudgens on her Broadway debut. Gigi is set to run on Broadway through October 4th.

Kimberly Ripley

Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and ‘Nana’ to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.