Only day after its launch, HBO Max is the latest platform to set-up its own piece of quarantine-inspired content.
The streamer has given the greenlight to “Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020,” a scripted special which will give high school students whose spring musicals have been canceled the opportunity to sing and dance in front of an audience from the safety of their homes.
“Homeschool Musical” is inspired by Tony winner and “Younger” star Laura Benanti and her #SunshineSongs online movement, as part of which she offered to be an audience for students around the country who were no longer able to perform due to COVID-19. This move feels similar to John Krasinski’s “Some Good News,” which began life as an online format, but was recently purchased by ViacomCBS with the idea of turning it into a weekly series.
The HBO Max special will feature a diverse group of student actors playing 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, executive vice president original of non-fiction and kids programming at HBO Max. “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.”
“Homeschool Musical” is being executive produced by Benanti along with Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey, and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder Productions. Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez collaborator Leland will write and produce original songs and score for the musical.
“Our school shows are more than just entertainment. 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,” added Benanti. “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!”