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ABC Taps Songwriting Heavyweights For Musical Comedy Project

By | Tuesday December 7, 2010 @ 3:53pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken and Oscar-nominated lyricist David Zippel have teamed with veteran comedy writer Marco Pennette  for a musical comedy set up at ABC. The network is making a big effort to launch a musical series next season with 3 such projects in development.

The untitled Menken/Zippel/Pennette project is probably the most ambitious of the 3 as it would feature 2-3 original songs in every episode. Loosely based on Menken’s daughter, it is described as St. Elmo’s Fire meets Rent and centers on a young female musician living with other musicians as they try to make their way into the world. Menken, Zippel and Pennette co-created the project, which would feature the characters break into songs as well as set pieces. The trio will executive produce the show, which was packaged by UTA. Pennette is writing the script, with ABC Studios producing. At ABC, the Menken/Zippel/Pennette comedy is joining two other music-themed projects in development: a drama with musical elements from writer Bob Kushell   starring Tony winner Idina Menzel, and a musical comedy from Sharpay Fabulous writer Robert Horn.

Menken’s extensive work on Disney family movies has netted him 18 Oscar nominations and 8 wins, two each for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladin and Pocahontas. He is back in awards contention this year with Disney’s … Read More »

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ABC Developing 2 Musical Series, Including A Bob Kushell Drama Starring Idina Menzel

By | Tuesday November 30, 2010 @ 2:20pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Primetime musical series are red-hot courtesy of Fox’s Glee, and ABC, whose sibling Disney Channel started the genre’s resurgence with High School Musical and Hannah Montana, is developing a couple of music-themed series for next fall. Leading the pack is a drama with musical elements from writer Bob Kushell  (Samantha Who?) starring Tony winner Idina Menzel. Another one is a musical comedy from Robert Horn, who penned two Disney Channel movie musicals this year: the High School Musical-spinoff Sharpay Fabulous, starring Ashley Tisdale, and The Suite Life: The Movie.

Hot off her recurring role on Glee last season, Idina Menzel is headlining her own musical hourlong project, a mother-daughter relationship drama in the vein of Gilmore Girls. It will star the Broadway actress as the single mother of a teenager who, to make ends meet, waits tables and performs at weddings and bar mitzvahs, odd jobs that Menzel herself worked early on while pursuing a Broadway career. Kushell, who had been looking to do a musical series for the past 10 years, is writing the script for ABC Studios and will executive produce with David Knoller (Big Love). Menzel and her manager Heather Reynolds will serve as producers. Menzel, who originated the roles of Maureen in Rent and Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, earned Tony nominations  for both and won for Wicked. She will make her New York Philharmonic debut on Feb. 5 and may also return to … Read More »

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