Veteran Rosie Perez and up-and-comer Rarmian Newton (The Family) have been cast in lead roles 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.

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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.

Perez plays Tracey, the high energy with a no-holds-barred mouth current Drama School teacher and a former high school theater person who is finding someone else with passion and vision can still inspire her. Aussie Newton plays Maashous Evers, a mysterious, independent and handsome student from a broken home who works as the lighting technician on all the school’s drama projects. The two join previously cast Moana star Auli’i Cravalho.

Katims and Michelle Lee executive produce via True Jack Productions. Seller and Flody Suarez also executive produce via Seller Suarez Productions. Universal TV is the studio.

After filming the pilot, Perez will shoot Bounty Hunters, a 6-episode series for Sky 1 in London with Jack Whitehall. She is repped by Innovative, Silver Lining Entertainment, and Meyer & Downs.

Newton, who in his native Australia did an arc on similarly-themed TV series Dance Academy, was a series regular on ABC’s The Family. He is repped by APA, Primary Wave Entertainment, Active Artist Management in Australia, and Felker Toczek.