Stranger Things' Shannon Purser cast in Drama High
Shannon Purser's newest role should have a less deadly fate than her Stranger Things character Barb. According to Deadline, the actress has signed on to star alongside Moana's Auli'i Cravalho in Drama High, a new TV pilot from Parenthood's Jason Katims. The show is based on the 2013 book of the same name, which followed drama teacher Lou Volpe and the inner workings of a high school theater department in a working class town. Katims is pretty familiar with shows about high school extracurriculars; the writer/producer is also famous for the cult hit Friday Night Lights.
Purser will play Annabelle, a student who is fighting for a role in the high school's Spring Awakening production despite not fitting the typical mold of the character. Katims created the recurring role specifically for Purser, who has also appeared on The CW's dark Archie Comics adaptation Riverdale. Cravalho, who landed the lead the day after her impressive Oscars performance, will play one of the students in the program named Lilette. The cast also includes Pineapple Express' Rosie Perez, who will play the high-energy drama teacher Tracey, and The Family's Rarmian Newton, who will play a mysterious, independent student from a broken home who works as the school's lighting technician.
Purser, who was working at a movie theater before landing her short-lived but well-loved role on the first season of the Netflix hit Stranger Things, has a number of other projects lined up. The actress is also set to appear as the title character in the comedy Sierra Burgess is a Loser and has roles in the Joey King thriller Wish Upon and the Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy comedy Life of the Party. Purser commented on the Drama High casting on Twitter, writing, "Can't wait to be a part of this amazing project!"