Ready to meet your favorite new actor? Here’s what you need to know about Damon J. Gillespie, the star of ‘Rise’.
1.) Damon J. Gillespie is an actor, singer, dancer, acrobat, musician and playwright. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, you should see his resume! Not only is he trained in ballroom, ballet, jazz, and tap dancing, but he can also play the piano, bass, drums, bongos and congas. When he was 11 years old he realized he wanted to dabble in musical theatre, which led him to attending and graduating from Chattanooga High School Center for the Creative Arts and Roosevelt University Chicago College of Performing Arts. Not only is he extremely talented, but he’s educated!
2.) He now stars in NBC’s new musical show, ‘Rise‘. Damon plays Robbie Thorne, the high school’s star quarterback who gets cast in the school play. While that might sound familiar (ahem, Glee), Rise hopes to be extremely different. From the trailer alone you can tell it’s a bit darker with more drama and storyline than sudden outbursts of song. For starters, Robbie’s mom is very sick and while he’s caring for her he’s focusing on trying to get a scholarship to college. Another student struggles with coming out to his parents, a transgender student is adjusting to life as a boy, and the female lead, Auli’i Cravalho‘s Lilette is dealing with an unsupportive parent. The show premieres on Tuesday, March 13.
3.) Damon’s been on Broadway! This comes as no surprise, especially after learning that Damon is so talented, but he’s performed in Disney’s Newsies musical, Newsies. He’s also been in Aladdin‘s live show, as well as the West Side Story production at Carnegie Hall.
4.) He wants to release a studio album. Despite the exciting new show about to premiere, Damon still has one dream he’d like to achieve: releasing an album! According to his official website, Damon is currently working on his first studio album. Sadly, no date for release is available just yet.
5.) Damon’s excited for his on-screen romance in ‘Rise’. In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Damon and Auli’i, the two actors told HollywoodLife: “From what you’ve seen in just the trailers, if there wasn’t something there, that would be really interesting,” Auli’i told HollywoodLife. “You’ll have to watch and see.” What a tease!