Having choreographed “Dirty Dancing” and directed Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” and “HIStory” world tours and Disney Channel’s record-busting “High School Musicals,” Kenny Ortega looks set to see his career take another turn as he teams with “Violetta” creators Solange Keoleyan and Sebastian Parrotta to originate “Bandolero,” a new Spanish-language musical TV series.
Also written by Keoleyan and Parrotta, whose “Violetta” has proved a mega-franchise TV series for Disney Channel, “Bandolero” is set up at Los Angeles’ Campanario Entertainment, producers of Telemundo’s flagship Spanish telenovela “Camelia La Texana.”
In development, “Bandolero” marks the first major Spanish-language production for Ortega, whose grandparents were from Spain.
A “music-dance-parkour driven dramatic format about contemporary kids who are art lovers,” in Ortega’s words, the TV series is billed as a story of forbidden love and lofty musical dreams that slowly reveals the origins of powerful Hispanic superhero Bandolero.
Its hero is Renzo, in his late teens or 20, and Alma, a girl in her late high-school years. Renzo “lives in two worlds, as the protector Bandolero, and as an artist involved in music, entertainment, working and creating with a small group of musicians,” Ortega commented. ˝He wants to draw Alma into this world, sharing his world and ideals, and that is where the conflict begins because Renzo’s also an outsider.”
Taking an executive producer credit, Ortega is working as a creative supervisor with Campanario and “will be extremely involved in development up to shooting,” he said.
Colombian musicvideo specialist-turned-film director Simon Brand (“Paraiso Travel,” “Default”) is preparing a sizzle reel for potential strategic partners.
Ortega is working with top U.S. choreographer Liz Imperio, who has staged and choreographed the Jennifer Lopez Dance Again world tour and Madonna’s Re-Invention Tour and Confessions Tour. Mexican music producer Guillermo Santiso will supervise music. The show will cast in Los Angeles beginning this week.
“Bandolero” marks Keoleyan and Parrotta’s next project after “Violetta,” a Pol-ka/Disney Channel TV series production which launched in 2012 and became a TV sensation in Latin America, Spain and Italy, sparking a magazine, a book series, a movie spinoff (“Violetta: En concierto”), a stage show in Buenos Aires, a sold-out world stadium tour and even Easter eggs.
“As a proud Hispanic American, it is a thrill to be able to draw from my own life experiences as we embark on this international television project together,” Ortega commented.
“Developing projects that have a balance of strong Latin-based themes is always at the top of my wish list. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves, turning up the music and letting my inner Bandolero loose!”
Campanario Entertainment’s Jaime Davila Jr. added: “This show knits together elements of movement and music in a fresh and innovative way. Kenny’s proven ability and creativity has been a pivotal component to both putting this project together and creating a series with such global appeal.”
Ortega has worked as a dancer, then artistic director for the Tubes. He also choreographed John Walter’s “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Pretty in Pink.” Seen by over 17 million viewers, “High School Musical 2” was the most-watched program in cable telecast history. Ortega has just completed directing a romantic comedy, “A Change of Heart,” and is currently helming “Descendants,” a Disney Channel original movie.
Co-founded by Jaime Davila Jr. and Jaime Davila Sr., a former chairman and CEO of Univision and COO of Televisa, Campanario develops and produces TV and digital content in English and Spanish for both Latinos and the global marketplace. Bowing in February 2014 on Telemundo, and shot in high definition, “Camelia La Texana” debuted with an audience of 1.1 million in adult 18-49 demos.