Overture, Blumhouse team for 'Speech'

Stephen Karam adapting script from his off-Broadway play

NEW YORK -- Overture and Jason Blum's Blumhouse are partnering on "Speech & Debate," a high school dramedy based on Stephen Karam's off-Broadway play.

Karam, who has never penned a screenplay, will adapt from his own work.

"Speech," which debuted last year at the Roundabout Underground in New York, centers on a high school drama queen who recruits a set of misfits to join the speech and debate club. The material has free speech and coming-of-age themes and also is described as a high school comedy in the manner of "Election" and "Juno." Overture has acquired rights to the play and is developing the script.

Blum will produce the project via his Blumhouse shingle, while the company's Tracy Underwood will executive produce. Overture production exec Robert Kessel will oversee for the studio.

Several producers had been circling the project, including play-to-film magnate Scott Rudin. Stage dramas have become more popular as source material for specialty divisions; Miramax, for instance, in the fall will release the Rudin-produced "Doubt," which John Patrick Shanley directed and adapted from his own play.