KELLY YOUNGER is a screenwriter, TV writer, playwright, story consultant, and Emmy- nominated producer. His original holiday movie Candy Cane Lane – based on a personal family story – premieres Christmas 2023 from Amazon Studios, starring Eddie Murphy, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jillian Bell, and Nick Offerman. It is directed by Reginald Hudlin, and produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
Younger frequently writes and develops for The Muppets Studios, having already co-created and co-executive produced Muppets Now, and co-written and co-executive produced Muppets Haunted Mansion (4 Emmy nominations with 1 win, and winner of the 2022 Producers Guild Award for Outstanding Children’s Programming). He is working on more Muppets titles for Disney+ yet to be announced.
As a member of the Disney Animation Story Trust, he worked on such films as Ralph Breaks the Internet (story credit), Frozen 2, Moana, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Encanto. He also frequently participated in the Pixar Animation Brain Trust on such films as Cars 3, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, Onward, and Coco.
Younger is currently co-writing a feature film for Skydance Animation for directors Rich Moore (Zootopia) and Jim Reardon (Wall-E). He recently completed a script for a reboot of a legacy film franchise for Disney Studios and producer Jason Reed (Mulan). He is also developing and co-writing an animated TV series called Chickapig – based on the best-selling game by Brian Calhoun – with ShadowMachine (Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio) and musician Dave Matthews.
As a playwright, Younger’s works have appeared Off-Broadway, regionally, and internationally. His play Kalamazoo, co-written with Michelle Kholos Brooks, won the Reva Shiner comedy award with a sold out run at Bloomington Playwrights Project and a six-month run at Pacific Resident Theater in Los Angeles. It is published by Dramatists Play Service. New York’s Irish Repertory Theater commissioned him to adapt Banish Children of Eve by Peter Quinn for their season, and his play Tender (nominated for Best New Play IRNE, Finalist for the Laurents/Hatcher Award) was developed by the Manhattan Theatre Club, and featured in their “7×7” series in a reading starring Michael Shannon,directed by Lynne Meadow. His comedy Mandate won the Samuel French Off-Broadway Festival and is being developed into a feature film. Several of his short plays have won awards, been published, and have played as far away as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Dubai.
Younger is also a story consultant, often brought into studios to assist with projects in development and production. These include such franchises as Shrek and Puss in Boots, as well as the live-action Tinkerbell for Reese Witherspoon and the live-action Aladdin for Guy Ritchie. Additionally, he has developed materials for Paramount Animation, Warner Animation Group, DreamWorks, Illumination, Apple, Hulu, and Disney Originals.
Younger earned an MA in Classics at Loyola University Chicago and a PhD in Literature and Drama Studies from University College Dublin in Ireland. He has published numerous books and articles on theater, from ancient Greek tragedies to modern Irish drama; from Chekhov to Beth Henley; from how to read plays to how to teach plays. He is currently a tenured professor in the Department of English and an Affiliate Faculty Member in the Department of Theater at Loyola Marymount University where he leads workshops in writing for stage and screen, and teaches seminars in fairy tales.