‘Center Stage’ Celebrates 20 Years With Spinoff Series: What Is Creator Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Known For?

When the ’00s cult classic film Center Stage produced two failed sequels, fans may have assumed they’d only ever have the original to look back on fondly. However, exactly 20 years later, writer Jennifer Kaytin Robinson is prepared to bring back the world of professional dance with a new TV show. Here’s what we know about the project, and what Robinson has worked on in the past.

‘Center Stage’ 20th anniversary

Center Stage premiered in theaters on May 12, 2000. The film stars future Marvel Cinematic Universe hero Zoe Saldana and Suits actress Amanda Schull as two of the dancers at the fictional American Ballet Academy. It showcases the cutthroat environment and drama that goes on behind the scenes as they vie for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company.

Though a box-office bomb at the time, Center Stage went on to earn cult film status. The sequels, 2008’s Center Stage: Turn It Up and Center Stage: On Pointe, did not receive theatrical releases in the U.S, though some of the original stars, including Peter Gallagher and real-life dancer Ethan Stiefel, returned.

Jennifer Kaytin Robinson promises good music in the series

Jennifer Kaytin Robinson attends the InStyle Max Mara Women in Film Celebration at Chateau Marmont on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson | Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic,

On May 12, 2020, a continuation series was announced. According to an exclusive for Deadline, Center Stage “follows a new, inclusive class of dancers as they work to stay at the academy and clash against the traditional students and style the ABA is known for.” Robinson is set to write, executive produce, and direct the pilot.

A Twitter user wrote about their high expectations for the new show in comparison to the first film, saying “the OST (original soundtrack) alone is a mountain to try to surpass.” Robinson replied, “The writing is one thing, but I PROMISE I got you on the soundtrack.”

‘Something Great’ proves she has musical chops

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Robinson’s past work proves that music is an important component of her work. She wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical film Someone Great, which debuted on Netflix in April 2019. In addition to an all-star cast consisting of Gina Rodriguez, Brittany Snow, and DeWanda Wise, the soundtrack was highly regarded.

When the trailer for the film dropped, sales of Lizzo’s 2017 single “Truth Hurts” skyrocketed. The song went on to become a No. 1 hit. Additionally, after Someone Great was released, musician Taylor Swift praised it, and went on to reveal that it partially inspired her Lover track “Death by a Thousand Cuts.”

Robinson’s series ‘Sweet/Vicious’

Before Someone Great, Robinson’s most notable credit was her short-lived MTV series Sweet/Vicious. It starred Taylor Dearden as Ophelia, who teams up with Jules (Eliza Bennett) to take down sexual assailants on their college campus. In typical Robinson style, the show features a range of notable music moments, from the main characters belting out “Defying Gravity” from Wicked to Billie Eilish’s second single “Six Feet Under” playing over a dramatic realization.

Like Center Stage, Sweet/Vicious didn’t receive the attention it deserved at the time, resulting in its cancelation after one season just months before it could have become a cultural timepiece with the beginning of the Me Too movement in Hollywood. Coupled with her writing credit on the upcoming MCU film Thor: Love and Thunder, it looks as though Robinson’s second foray into TV could be a bit more successful.