University of Pittsburgh
May 25, 2006

Pitt Student Filmmakers Create Documentary Featuring Local High School Students Preparing for Musical Productions

Under the direction of Carl Kurlander, Pitt faculty member and Hollywood producer/screenwriter, Pitt and CLO students chronicle area high school students in The Road to the Kellys
Contact:  412-624-4147


Contact: Patricia Lomando White

Sarah Thurston

[412-281-3973 ext: 224;]

PITTSBURGH-Under the supervision of Hollywood producer/screenwriter and Pitt faculty member Carl Kurlander of St. Elmo's Fire and Saved By the Bell fame, a team of student filmmakers from the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh CLO (Civic Light Opera) have created a documentary that chronicles Allegheny County high school students preparing for their musical productions and, ultimately, Pittsburgh CLO's annual Gene Kelly Awards. Titled The Road to the Kellys, the documentary will air at 1:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Sunday, May 28, on WQED tv 13.

The half-hour documentary has been two years in the making and follows students from auditions and set construction through dress rehearsals and performances, culminating in Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards ceremony. Staff and students from Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and North Allegheny, North Catholic, Perry Traditional Academy, Pine Richland, Quaker Valley, Riverview, Schenley, South Park, Trinity Christian, Winchester Thurston, and Woodland Hills high schools participated in the making of the film between 2003 and 2004.

Kurlander, a visiting assistant professor at Pitt, is the project's executive producer. He is at work on a feature film about Pittsburgh titled A Tale of Two Cities ( WQED Multimedia, Comcast, and the University assisted in the production of the no-budget, student-made The Road to the Kellys documentary.

The annual Pittsburgh CLO Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater event was established in 1991 as a means to recognize and encourage student achievement and to focus the attention of the community and school districts on the importance of musical theater and arts education. Named for legendary performer, Pittsburgh native, and Pitt alumnus Gene Kelly, this event was patterned after Broadway's Tony Awards and celebrates the time, energy, and dedication that local high schools devote to their musical productions each spring. The 16th Annual Gene Kelly Awards will be held at 7:30 p.m. June 3 and will be broadcast live on the Lightboard at Theater Square in downtown Pittsburgh. CLO suggests that those interested in viewing the live broadcast gather in Katz Plaza at the corner of Seventh Street and Penn Avenue.