Step Up: High Water has tapped Ne-Yo (The Wiz, World of Dance), Naya Rivera (Glee) and Faizon Love (Elf) to lead YouTube Red's new original drama series based on the popular film franchise. The series, created and executive produced by showrunner Holly Sorenson (Recovery Road), is YouTube Red's's first attempt at a big-budget drama series (but not at original programming). Stars of the original Step Up film Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum will executive produce the series along with the films' producers Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton.
Here's an overview of what Step Up: High Water is all about:
Ne-Yo plays Sage Odom, the legendary founder of Atlanta's famed High Water Performing Arts School. Rivera portrays Collette, a former dancer turned High Water administrator whose passion for her students is only matched by her history with Sage and secrets of her own. Lauryn McClain (Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, Spider-Man animated series) plays Janelle, an ambitious dancer navigating the Atlanta hip-hop scene after she and her twin brother Tal, played by Petrice Jones (iBoy, Play The Devil) are uprooted from suburban Ohio to live with their Uncle Al (Love). As the pair settle into their new home, new school, and new life they meet Dondre played by Marcus Mitchell (High Strung, Odious), who introduces them to Atlanta's party scene where they learn that High Water is auditioning dancers.
Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs had this to say after YouTube Red's initial announcement that the film series would be coming to the small screen:
"After five exciting and successful movies, we're proud to partner with YouTube Red, a major new force on the programming landscape, to adapt the films into an adrenaline-filled original drama series driven by its non-stop energy, spectacular dancing and A-list creative talent."
Additional casting for Step Up: High Water include: Jade Chynoweth (300: Rise of an Empire) as Odalie; Carlito Olivero (Blood Heist) as Davis; Terrence Green (Being Mary Jane) as Rigo; R. Marcos Taylor (Baby Driver) as East-O; and newcomers Eric Graise as King, and Kendra Oyesanya as Poppy. Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jason "PooBear" Boyd and "Jingle" Jared Gutstadt will be contributing original songs for the series; with film choreographer Jamal Sims returning for the first episode and Jamaica Craft handling choreography for the remainder of the season.