'High School Musical' director Kenny Ortega signs Netflix deal

By Annie Martin
Kenny Ortega will direct and produce new projects for Netflix. File Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/UPI
Kenny Ortega will direct and produce new projects for Netflix. File Photo by Jonathan Alcorn/UPI | License Photo

April 9 (UPI) -- High School Musical director Kenny Ortega has signed a multi-year deal with Netflix.

The streaming company announced in a news release Tuesday the 68-year-old director, producer and choreographer will develop several upcoming projects as part of the agreement.


Ortega will begin by directing and producing the movie Auntie Claus and the new series Julie and the Phantoms. Auntie Claus is based on the Elise Primavera book series of the same name and will be adapted as a musical by Tiffany Paulsen.

Julie and the Phantoms is a musical comedy series based on the Brazilian television series Julie e os Fantasmas. The show follows a teenager who finds her passion for music with the help of The Phantoms, a band of three teen boys who have been dead for 25 years.

Dan Cross and David Hodge will serve as showrunners on Julie and the Phantoms. The pair will also executive produce with George Salinas, Jaime Aymerich, Hugo Janeba and Joao Tikhmiroff.

"Throughout the course of his career, Kenny Ortega has inspired generations of artists and audiences alike. That he has chosen to make Netflix his creative home to work on both feature films and series is thrilling," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said. "We can't wait to se what he brings to Netflix to delight musical-loving families and audiences around the globe."


Ortega said he's "super excited" about his partnership and projects with Netflix.

"As a fan of Netflix and their dynamic range of high quality content, I am thrilled to begin a creative relationship with the company," the director said. "I'm super excited about the projects we already have in development and the shared enthusiasm I feel from the company. I look forward to this new Netflix collaboration with the highest hopes."

Ortega is known for directing Hocus Pocus and Disney Channel's High School Musical and Descendants film series. In addition, he choreographed Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Dirty Dancing.

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