The cast of ABC’s ‘Abbott Elementary’ discuss the new series

EXCLUSIVE: Quinta Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and more shed light on the upcoming ABC comedy series.

ABC’s highly anticipated comedy Abbott Elementary premieres Tuesday. The cast opened up to theGrio about the series, what inspired an elementary school as a workplace comedy set, and more.

Abbott Elementary follows the dedicated and passionate teachers of a Philadelphia public school, who, despite the odds stacked against them, are “determined to help their students succeed in life.” Starring Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and more, the series is a must-watch new show in ABC’s comedy lineup.

Brunson, who also created the series, explains that the inspiration for the series came from the elementary school where her mother taught.

Abbott Elementary
Abbott Elementary – Key Art. (ABC)

“To me it just seemed like a rich world to make a workplace comedy with,” Brunson said. Williams, who plays Gregory Eddie, finds the setting ideal for the chaotic situations that make for good television.

“Where is there more chaos than a place that has primarily children?” he asked.

Lisa Ann Walter, who plays Melissa Schemmenti, found a personal connection to the series. “I have four kids, that I know of, and they’ve gone to schools that have some of the struggles that we see on this show,” she said.

Williams credits Brunson for a cast that plays masterfully off of one another. “She put together a cast of people she specifically picked for this role and it feels like she assembled the Avengers in some way,” he said.

Chris Perfetti (Jacob Hill) agrees. “We kind of are The Avengers…if the Avengers never succeeded!” he said.

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY – ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” stars Tyler James Williams as Gregory, Janelle James as Ava, Quinta Brunson as Janine, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara, Chris Perfetti as Jacob, and Lisa Ann Walter as Melissa. (ABC/Pamela Littky)

“Our characters are really well carved out and different, but really all work together in a good way…in a way that people work together in an office, which is what we’re doing,” James said.

Ralph has a feeling a certain character will come out as a “favorite” among audiences.

“Watch Abbott Elementary and feel good about what you just saw…and you’ll learn something from your favorite teacher, that would be me,” she insisted.

Abbot Elementary premieres Tuesday at 9:30/8:30 CST on ABC and will debut in its regular time period on Jan. 4th at 9/8 CST.

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