Step Up: High Water, YouTube Red’s new original drama series based on the film franchise that grossed $650 million at the global box office, has set its cast as production begins in Atlanta. Ne-Yo (The Wiz, World of Dance) joins series regulars Naya Rivera (Glee) and Faizon Love (Couples Retreat, Elf) to headline the series from YouTube and Lionsgate TV, set for debut on YouTube Red this fall.
Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum, who co-starred in the original Step Up film, executive produce the series adaptation along with the movies’ producers Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Meredith Milton.
The Step Up series is described as a heart-pounding, sexy, music-filled drama about dancers in a contemporary performing arts school.
Announced last year at VidCon, Step Up: High Water (new title), created and executive produced by showrunner Holly Sorenson (Recovery Road, Make It Or Break It) is the subscription video service’s first full-fledged, big-budget original drama series. In it, 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.
Rounding out the cast are Jade Chynoweth (The Last Ship, 300: Rise of an Empire) as Odalie; Carlito Olivero (Bad Samaritan, Blood Heist) as Davis; Terrence Green (Being Mary Jane, America’s Best Dance Crew) as Rigo; R. Marcos Taylor (Baby Driver, Straight Outta Compton) as East-O; and newcomers Eric Graise as King, and Kendra Oyesanya as Poppy.
Original songs for the series will be written by four-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jason “PooBear” Boyd and “Jingle” Jared Gutstadt, the President, co-founder, and Chief Creative Officer of Jingle Punks. The films’ choreographer Jamal Sims returns for the first episode. Subsequent episodes will be choreographed by Jamaica Craft. Shankman also directed the pilot.
The original Step Up (2006) was followed by three more films, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up: 3D, Step Up: Revolution and Step Up: All In. The last three films of the Step Up series were released by Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label.