Grease: Live” And “Hamilton” Director Thomas Kail Sets Up New Production Company at Twentieth Century Fox Television
Acclaimed Emmy Award-nominated and Tony Award-winning director Thomas Kail, recently responsible for the critical and ratings smash GREASE: LIVE, as well as the theatrical phenomenon “Hamilton,” has created a production pod housed within Twentieth Century Fox Television. Under the deal, Kail will develop, supervise and potentially direct television projects both for broadcast and cable. Kail has enlisted Kate Sullivan as the Head of Development of his company, entitled Old 320 Sycamore, and together they will manage the company’s development slate and identify promising writers and projects for Kail to develop and supervise.
“Working with Tommy on GREASE: LIVE was an incredible experience, and we knew long before the credits rolled that night that we wanted a much more significant relationship with him,” commented Gary Newman and Dana Walden, Chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group. “Anyone who has worked with Tommy knows just how remarkable and creative and visionary he is – he’s quite literally a force of nature. He has access to a largely untapped talent pool through his years in the New York theater, and he’s fantastically collaborative.”
“I am thrilled to have the chance to continue working with Dana and Gary, who have consistently proven their passion for cultivating new voices and inventive storytelling,” said Kail. “Working on GREASE: LIVE with the FOX team was one of the highlights of my career, I am proud of what we made – and how we made it. I’ve always been drawn to helping find and platform new voices, surprising characters and stories that are relevant to our times. Hopefully, through this deal, we’ll be able to tell those stories in every possible form, from live events, to half-hour and hour scripted, and limited series.”
A recent Tony Award winner for directing the blockbuster theatrical hit and Best Musical of 2016, “Hamilton” (he also won the Drama Desk, the Obie and the Lucille Lortel for that project), Kail was just nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing For a Variety Special for his oversight of FOX’s hit, GREASE: LIVE, which received 10 nominations, including Outstanding Special Class Program. He directed 2008’s Best Musical winner, “In The Heights,” for which he also received a Tony Award nomination. Other Broadway credits include the new plays “Lombardi” and “Magic/Bird.” Additional Off-Broadway credits include “The Wiz” and Randy Newman’s “Faust” at New York City Center, as well as new plays at Lincoln Center and Second Stage. He is the co-creator and director of the hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme. Upcoming projects include casting and staging the next three companies of “Hamilton” (Chicago, San Francisco/LA, London), and this fall, he will direct the new play “Tiny Beautiful Things,” based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos (who also stars).
Kate Sullivan served as assistant director on GREASE: LIVE. She has worked on the films “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” “(500) Days of Summer” and “Bridesmaids.” In 2011, she founded Over the Moon Productions with Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award-winning “Rent,” staged in a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. She also directed the Los Angeles premiere of “Spring Awakening” and a New York reading of “We Are The Tigers,” by Rebekah M. Allen. Sullivan is the 2014 recipient of the Epstein Directing Fellowship at New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College.