Tonight is the premiere of Rise on NBC. The show, which has been likened to Glee, follows a working-class high school drama department who come to life under the advisement of their drama teacher.
The show is inspired by the nonfiction book Drama High, written by Michael Sokolove.
Here are cast spoilers for the premiere.
Auli’i Cravalho as Lilette Suarez
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Cravalho describes her character as “an underdog that comes to light in face of bullies who try to take her down…”
Moana’s Auli’i Cravalho recently told Hollywood Life that her character struggles to dissociate from what’s going on at home. She says, “. She does have a very interesting relationship with her mother, figuring out who the adult is in the relationship. Both of them work hard to support each other. Both of them love each other endlessly. But really, when will it become too much?”
Damon J. Gillepsie as Robbie Thorne
Damon Gillepsie plays Robbie Thorne, a football player who’s recruited to star in his high school’s production of Spring Awakening.
Gillepsie is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He plays six instruments, and studied at the Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts. After moving to New York, Gillepsie was cast as Buttons in the Disney Broadway Musical, Newsies. He’s also performed in Aladdin.
Gillepsie and Cravalho share a lot of screentime this season. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter recently, Gillepsie said, “Now that we’ve done more of the show, we’ve gotten to have a lot more encounters just she and I, so we have more time to talk, and we have more time to really form a really close friendship… Now that the show is moving along and we’re kind of staying with it, it’s really blossoming into a really pleasant friendship, I would say.”
Josh Radnor as Lou Mazzuchelli
Rise follows passionate teacher Lou Mazzuchelli who comes in to run the theater department at a small town in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Radnor was born in Columbus, Ohio, and attended Kenyon College, where he studied theater. He went on to train at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene ONeill Theater in CT. Radnor received his MFA from NYUs Tisch School of the Arts in 1999.
Radnor played Ted Mosby in How I Met Your Mother, as well as Dr. Jedediah Foster in Mercy Street.