Netflix has formed a multi-year overall deal with Kenny Ortega, the filmmaker, producer and choreographer known for the “High School Musical” franchise, the streamer announced Tuesday.
Netflix is fast tracking two new projects from Ortega, the first a film called “Auntie Claus” (working title) that he will direct and executive produce, and a series that he will executive produce called “Julie and the Phantoms.”
“Auntie Claus” is a musical based on the popular book series of the same name by Elise Primavera involving a young girl determined to get to the bottom of why her eccentric, Christmas-loving Aunt disappears every Christmas. It will be adapted by Tiffany Paulsen (“Holidate,” “Nancy Drew”).
“Julie and the Phantoms” is a musical comedy series in development based on an International Emmy Award-nominated Brazilian TV series. Julie is a teenaged girl who finds her passion for music and life with the help of a high-concept band of three teen boys (The Phantoms) who have been dead for 25 years. Julie, in turn, helps them become the band they were never able to be.
Dan Cross and David Hoge will serve as showrunners and executive producers on the series, with George Salinas and Jaime Aymerich of Crossover Entertainment, as well as Hugo Janeba and Joao Tikhmiroff of Mixer Entertainment. Jason La Padura and Natalie Hart are now casting the title roles.
“As a fan of Netflix and their dynamic range of high quality content, I am thrilled to begin a creative relationship with the company. I’m super excited about the projects we already have in development and the shared enthusiasm I feel from the company. l look forward to this new Netflix collaboration with the highest hopes,” Ortega said in a statement.
“Throughout the course of his career, Kenny Ortega has inspired generations of artists and audiences alike. That he has chosen to make Netflix his creative home to work on both feature films and series is thrilling. We can’t wait to see what he brings to Netflix to delight musical-loving families and audiences around the globe,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, said in a statement.
Ortega has won a Primetime Emmy and Directors Guild of America Award. He’s choreographed scenes in classic films from “Dirty Dancing,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and “Pretty in Pink,” among others.
Truman Alfaro will serve as Ortega’s development executive.