EXCLUSIVE: This is a nice get — 16-year-old Moana star Auli’i Cravalho, who wowed the Oscar audiences with her performance of nominated song “How Far I’ll Go” last night, has been tapped for a lead role in NBC’s drama pilot Drama High, from Friday Night Lights executive producer/showrunner Jason Katims and Jeffrey Seller, producer of the smash Broadway hit Hamilton.
It was Hamilton creator and original star Lin-Manuel Miranda who wrote the Oscar-nominated song from the Disney animated movie, which was also up for Best Animated Feature. Cravalho voiced the title character in her screen acting debut in addition to doing the song. Miranda rapped a prologue Sunday to Cravalho’s performance, which she nailed with poise despite being clipped on the head by the fabric of a flying flag carried by a dancer (watch a video of her song below.)
Written by Katims, Drama High was inspired by the story of ground-breaking high school drama teacher Lou Volpe as chronicled in the book Drama High, written by one of Volpe’s students, Michael Sokolove. The hourlong project revolves around an extraordinary working-class high school drama department and the incredible students who come alive under a passionate teacher and family man whose dedication to the program galvanizes the entire town. In her TV debut, Cravalho will play one of the students, Lilette, in the project, which will no doubt showcase her singing talents.
Katims and Michelle Lee executive produce via True Jack Productions. Seller and Flody Suarez also executive produce via Seller Suarez Productions. Universal TV, where both True Jack and Seller Suarez are under overall deals, is the studio. Hawaii native Cravalho is repped by CESD and Ira Schreck.