April 9, 2019
Netflix has entered into a multiyear overall deal with producer, director and choreographer Kenny Ortega, known for the “High School Musical” franchise, which earned him a Primetime Emmy and Directors Guild of America Award.
Ortega has directed and choreographed international hits including the “Descendants” trilogy, Newsies and Hocus Pocus, and choreographed classic films including Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink, among others.
Truman Alfaro will serve as Ortega’s development executive.
The first two projects Ortega will direct and produce for Netflix are Auntie Claus (working title), a film, and “Julie and the Phantoms,” an original series, which he will also executive produce.
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 Brazillian TV series. Julie is a teenaged girl who finds her passion for music and life with the help of a 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 (The Thundermans, Pair of Kings) 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.
“Throughout the course of his career, Kenny Ortega has inspired generations of artists and audiences alike,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “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.”
“As a fan of Netflix and their dynamic range of high quality content, I am thrilled to begin a creative relationship with the company,” said Ortega in a statement. “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 has received three Emmy Awards, two Directors Guild of America Awards, The Fred & Adele Astaire Lifetime Achievement Award, Bob Fosse Award, American Choreography Lifetime Achievement Award, MTV Video Music Award, American Music Award, Billboard Award, ALMA Award, Nosotros Golden Eagle Award, Imagen Creative Achievement Award, and an NAACP Image Award, among others.