NBC has ordered a pilot for a new TV series, Drama High, about a theatre department at a working class high school. The series will be produced by Jeffrey Seller, the Broadway producer of Rent, Avenue Q, In the Heights, and Hamilton.
The series will be based on the book Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater by Michael Sokolove, and life rights of Lou Volpe. According to production notes, “Inspired by a true story, Drama High introduces us to an extraordinary working class high school drama department and the incredible students who come alive under a passionate teacher and family man whose dedication to the program galvanizes the entire town.”
Seller teamed with producing partner Flody Suarez and with Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) on the deal. This will be Seller’s first scripted TV series. No production timeline or debut date were announced. The show will be part of the production deal Seller signed with Universal Television in early 2016 to produce TV projects for the studio.
“I’ve been obsessed with storytelling since the fourth grade,” said Seller in 2016. “Having now spent over 30 years telling stories on stage, I’m excited by the opportunity Bob has given me (and Flody) to stretch my muscles and apply my craft to television. I couldn’t be happier to be with NBCUniversal.”
“I’m so pleased to have Universal Television in business with one of the theater’s leading producers, Jeffrey Seller, and his producing partner, Flody Suarez,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. “Jeffrey’s spectacular track record on Broadway and his knack for finding and nurturing brilliant new talent, such as the creative forces behind Rent, Avenue Q, In the Heights and Hamilton, is nothing short of remarkable. There is more and more cross-pollination these days from theater to television, especially at NBC, and we’re excited to see where he and Flody’s instincts and talent relationships will go in the world of television.”
Under Greenblatt, NBC has produced theatre-related projects including Smash, The Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live! , The Wiz Live!, Hairspray Live!, and the upcoming A Few Good Men.
(Updated January 31, 2017)