HBO Max Greenlights ‘Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020’

WarnerMedia’s newly launched streaming service HBO Max has greenlit Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020.

Laura Benanti (Photo by Jenny Anderson)

Inspired by Tony Award winning actress Laura Benanti’s (“My Fair Lady” and “She Loves Me” on Broadway, Younger, Supergirl, Nashville) online movement #SunshineSongs, in which she offered to be an audience for the students around the country whose spring musicals were cancelled because of COVID-19, the show will give students the opportunity to sing and dance from the safety of their homes.

Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020 will explore themes of classic teen movies through the lens of a world turned upside down by the global pandemic. The cast, featuring a diverse group of student actors with compelling backstories, will play seniors from the same high school. While the pandemic may have shut down their school, the drama and romantic intrigue live on.

“As a mom of teenagers, I know that this time has been a struggle for them. High school seniors in particular have been hit hard by this pandemic, their dreams of homecoming, prom, spring performances and even graduation being cancelled,” said Jennifer O’Connell, HBO Max EVP, original non-fiction and kids programming, in a statement. “Laura’s brilliant idea to give these kids an audience and a platform has blossomed into this unique opportunity for us to not only celebrate their talent, but to entertain many other families across the country sharing their experience.”

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“Our school shows are more than just entertainment,” said Benanti in a statement. “At the very least, they bring our communities together to revel in the talent of our young artists. At their best, they are a life changing experience that these kids will bring with them into the rest of their lives. I am thrilled that the #SunshineSongs initiative has put the spotlight on so many incredible young performers; grateful to World of Wonder for its grand vision and to HBO Max for providing a global platform on which America’s youth can shine.”

Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020 is executive produced by Benanti along with Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder Productions (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”). Leland (Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) will write and produce the original songs and score.

Subscriptions to HBO Max are $14.99 per month.

Horror Musical ‘Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire’ Due on DVD Nov. 12 From MVD

The 1987 horror musical Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire will come out on DVD Nov. 12 from MVD Entertainment Group.

In the Rocky Horror Picture Show-type film, up-and-coming cockney snooker player Billy accepts the challenge of a grudge match from Maxwell Randall (the Green Baize Vampire), six times world champion; the loser will never play professional snooker (a pool-like game) again. It all begins because Billy’s his manager, T.O. (The One), a compulsive gambler, falls into debt with psychopathic loan shark the Wednesday Man, who offers to cancel T.O’s debt if he can arrange a 17-frame grudge snooker match between Billy and the reigning world champion Randall. To ensure that both players will agree to the match, T.O hires a journalist to stir up trouble between them. She interviews Billy and the Vampire separately, asks them leading questions intended to elicit angry responses and provoke enmity, then prints the results.

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Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia) stars as Billy. The film is directed by Alan Clarke (Scum).

‘Freaky Friday: A New Musical’ Due on DVD Sept. 25 From Disney

Freaky Friday: A New Musical, which premieres on the Disney Channel Aug. 10, will come out on DVD Sept. 25 from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

Based on Disney Theatrical Productions’ stage adaptation of the novel by Mary Rodgers, the musical stars Cozi Zuehlsdorff as 16-year-old Ellie Blake and Heidi Blickenstaff as her uber-organized mom Katherine. Mother and daughter are constantly at odds. During a quarrel, they accidentally break the hourglass given to Ellie by her deceased father and magically switch bodies.

Bonus Material on the DVD includes blooper reels, deleted scenes and audition tapes for the two leads.