This news is almost enough to restore our faith in social media. HBO Max has ordered Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020, a scripted special in which students whose spring musicals were cancelled due to the coronavirus will get to perform original songs from their homes.
The project is being executive-produced by Tony Award-winning actress Laura Benanti. In March, Benanti encouraged students from cancelled musicals to tweet their performances to her using the #SunshineSongs hashtag — and the response was massive.
According to HBO Max, Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020 will explore “tried-and-true themes of classic teen movies through the totally unique lens of a world turned upside down by the global pandemic. The cast, featuring a diverse group of super talented student actors with compelling backstories, will play seniors from the same high school and while the pandemic may have shut down their school, the drama and romantic intrigue live on.”
“Our school shows are more than just entertainment,” Benanti said 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,” said 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!”
Additional executive producers include Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey and Tom Campbell for World of Wonder Productions. Leland — who has penned tracks for Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez and RuPaul’s Drag Race — will write and produce the original songs and score.
Your thoughts on this scripted experiment? Drop ’em in a comment below.