Richard "Ricky" Bowen is the main protagonist of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Ricky is a junior and guitarist who previously dated his current girlfriend Nini. He was cast as Troy Bolton despite his lack of interest in the High School Musical franchise. Ricky is best friends with Big Red, whom he skateboards with outside of school. Ricky is also known for being in love with Nini.
Ricky is said to be a sensitive comedian. He tries hard to display his true feelings, but often he is unable to express himself the way he intends to. He sometimes says the wrong things, but his intentions are good. He is a kind, caring boy who is always on the look out for his friends.
Ricky has curly brown hair with blond highlights. He has a slim build and is tall.
The Tech Rehearsal
Ricky and Nini have known each other since kindergarten. He gave her the nickname Nini since then because he could not pronounce his A's at the time. He has Nini listed under his favorites in his contacts. They dated until the summer before his junior year when he asked for a break and couldn't say he loved her. During the last few weeks of summer, Ricky tried to go out with other girls, but continued to shamelessly talk about Nini the entire time.
In Act Two, he finally tells her he loves her, resulting in a kiss and the two getting back together.
Main Article: Nini and Ricky
Big Red and Ricky are best friends who enjoy skateboarding together. While Ricky's mother returns to their house after being away in Chicago, Ricky goes to Big Red's house as an attempt to get away from his dysfunctional family. However, this plan ultimately backfires as Ricky is unable to sleep because of underlying thoughts regarding his family and Big Red's sleep apnea machine.
In Opening Night, Ricky presents his guitar and a song that he wrote (Just For A Moment) to Big Red. Big Red is the only person to have heard it. Left utterly confused, Big Red wanted to clarify that the song was for Gina. Ricky hesitantly shakes his head, noting that it was for Nini.
Main Article: Ricky and Big Red
As they both have loved Nini, E.J. and Ricky form a rivalry. In The Auditions, Nini had a moment of sudden stage fright during her audition which gave Ricky the idea to turn on his flashlight for her to get more comfortable. Following he does this, E.J. mimics his action aggressively to try to one up him.
During a Troy and Chad character warm-up between the two, Ricky unintentionally hits E.J.'s nose with a basketball out of spite.
At the end of Opening Night, Ricky panics over the Youth Arts Conservatory recruiter arriving for Nini and his mother with her new boyfriend, feeling that he wasn't what Nini needed to set a good example for the recruiter. After this unfortunate situation, Ricky finds E.J. and asks him to take over as Troy. E.J. is left surprised, but is seen to take on the role anyway.
Main Article: Ricky and E.J.
In episode 5, Homecoming, Ricky and Gina share an intimate moment together in the car when Ricky gives Gina a ride back to her house. Proceeding a conversation about their family, Gina plants a kiss on Ricky's cheek before leaving.
In episode 6, after everyone ditches rehearsal, Gina asks to hear a more in-depth idea from Ricky for the musical. He ends up serenading her with an acoustic version of When There Was Me and You. Nini hears him and walks back to the rehearsal room, assuming that Ricky was performing alone. Much to her dismay, she realizes that Ricky was singing to Gina. She storms off in response. After they finished performing Truth, Justice, and Songs in Our Key, Ricky gives Gina a huge hug and spins her around. Nini can be seen watching them from afar.
Before the Thanksgiving party at Ashlyn's in episode 7, Gina shows up to Ricky's house bringing a tray of turkey cupcakes in the hopes of walking to Ashlyn's with him. Ricky is not in the best mood, as he had went to call his mom moments before but heard her boyfriend pick up instead. Understanding the situation, Gina comforts him. She shows him the hat she made him, which cheers him up despite not fitting right.
In episode 8, Gina doesn't answer any texts Ricky sends her, ultimately moving away without saying goodbye.
During Act Two, Gina comes back for the show and has a brief conversation with Ricky.
- His parents are separated.
- His first crush was Nini, and his second crush was Minnie Mouse.
- His real name is Richard Bowen, and his nickname "Ricky" was given to him by Nini in kindergarten.
- He can skateboard.
- He enjoys arranging songs to play on his acoustic guitar.
- It is revealed in "Opening Night" that Ricky wears tighty whities
- Ricky receives a wedgie from EJ trying to punch him