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Cynthia Erivo to Star in ‘Talent Show’ for Universal

Gandja Monteiro will direct the film, which is based on an idea by Duane Adler, who originated the “Step Up” franchise

Cynthia Erivo will star in Universal Pictures’ musical drama “Talent Show,” according to an individual with knowledge of the project.

Gandja Monteiro will direct the film, which is based on an idea by Duane Adler, who originated the “Step Up” franchise. Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe wrote the latest version of the script, with earlier versions by Adler and Aimee Lagos.

“Talent Show” centers on a failed songwriter who returns home to Chicago to lead a group of at-risk youth in their annual talent show.

George Tillman Jr. and Robert Teitel will produce for State Street Pictures. Waithe will executive produce alongside State Street’s Jay Marcus.

Senior Executive Vice President of Production Erik Baiers and Senior Vice President of Production Sara Scott will oversee the project on behalf of Universal. Marcus, who runs development at State Street Pictures, will oversee on behalf of the company, while Rishi Rajani will oversee on behalf of Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions.

Erivo — a Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award winner, as well as an Academy Award nominee — most recently appeared in HBO’s “The Outsider” and NatGeo’s forthcoming “Genius: Aretha.”

Cynthia Erivo is represented by UTA, Authentic Talent and Literary Management, ID PR and Peikoff Mahan Law Office

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.