Showtime Eyes Own High School Musical

Zak and Vanessa aren't in it, and the film won't certainly won’t have the light-hearted appeal of Disney Channel’s record-setting telepic, but Showtime, Lionsgate and Spitfire Pictures are teaming on a documentary about high school musicals.

The yet-untitled film captures the drama, both on stage and off, when three schools in southern Indiana - Floyd Central High School, New Albany High School and Jeffersonville High School – spend tens of thousands of dollars on their musical productions to compete for admission to the prestigious International Thespian Festival.  The documentary not only follows the involved students, but their parents, teachers, school administrators and local politicians, all of whom have a stake in the success of the shows within a cutthroat environment. 

Written and directed by Barry Blaustein (pro wrestling documentary Beyond the Mat), the project is being co-produced by Lionsgate through its feature-length documentary unit, Showtime and Spitfire Pictures. Blaustein is producer, along with Spitfire’s Nigel Sinclair, who produced the Grammy Award-winning documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, directed by Martin Scorsese. Spitfire’s Guy East and Tobin Armbrust are executive producers.

Lionsgate retains worldwide rights distribution rights to the film, which is expected to be released in 2008.

“As someone who flourished behind-the-scenes in my own high school musicals in Rockford, Illinois, this documentary really speaks to me,” said Showtime Entertainment president Robert Greenblatt in a statement. “Each year millions of young people in this country face exhilarating highs and lows in high school musicals and this is the wonderful story of three schools in Indiana.”