One midseason program that is gaining its share of hype is the drama Rise, a collaboration between Friday Night Lights producer Jason Katims and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller. The project centers on Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor), a teacher who attempts to inject new life into the school’s struggling theater department.

Co-star Damon J. Gillespie personally related to his character Robbie Thorne’s journey on Rise, as Robbie attempts to balance his football endeavors along with his burgeoning passion for theater. Gillespie also had his share of experiences on the football field and eventually studied musical theater at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Click on the media bar below to hear Gillespie elaborate on how football and theater made an impact on his life.

Co-starring Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) and Rosie Perez, Rise premieres March 13 on NBC (10/9c).

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi