The new streaming service HBO Max has greenlit a new musical special from executive producer Laura Benanti: Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020. Inspired by the Tony winner’s #SunshineSongs social media campaign for students whose spring school musicals were canceled in light of the health crisis, the series will be cast entirely with student actors.
The special aims to explore the themes of classic teen movies in the context of the global pandemic. Student actors will play high school seniors whose drama and romantic intrigue continues online, even as their school has been shut down.
Homeschool Musical is executive produced by Benanti along with Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey, and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder Productions (RuPaul’s Drag Race). Pop songwriter and Golden Globe nominee Leland will provide the original songs and score.
“Our school shows are more than just entertainment,” says Benanti. “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!”
Benanti won a Tony for her performance in the title role of the 2008 revival of Gypsy, and has also appeared on Broadway in such shows as She Loves Me, Meteor Shower, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Into the Woods. She has also had an extensive career on TV, appearing on Younger, Supergirl, Nashville, The Good Wife, and Nurse Jackie.
Benanti will release a new solo album on Sony Music Masterworks this year.