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Exclusive: Abbott Elementary star Lisa Ann Walter praises Quinta Brunson for surprise casting decision

Abbott Elementary is available to watch on ABC and Hulu.

Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
January 17, 2023
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Abbott Elementary star Lisa Ann Walter has shared her love for co-star and boss Quinta Brunson, who she revealed put her foot down and insisted Lisa be cast as teacher Melissa Schemmenti in the hit ABC comedy.

"Quinta was very firm about casting choices, even when she was told, 'Maybe go to someone who is known more,'" Lisa told HELLO! ahead of Abbott Elementary's big win at the Critics Choice Awards on 15 January. "People knew who I was and I had fans at the network, but Quinta said, 'She is it, there is no one more right.' Sometimes, you have to continue being the actor you know you are, and remind the town," Lisa laughed.

Lisa, 59, added that she was not surprised by the success of the show, but added that she is "grateful for audiences who have found this show and are passionate about it and who are loyal, and tweet about it and raise our visibility online - social media makes a show a hit these days".

As for the incredible chemistry between the cast, which includes Quinta as Janine Teagues, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard and Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, Lisa admitted that "there is no secret in building chemistry" as "it happened in week one and we all felt it".

"We knew then that it was magic," she said.

Abbott Elementary is an American mockumentary sitcom television series and stars Quinta as a second grade teacher at Abbott Elementary, a fictional predominantly Black school in Philadelphia. The show has been a critical and ratings hit and has been renewed for a third season.

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abbott elementary melissa

Lisa stars as Philadelphia teacher Melissa Schemmenti

The show won Outstanding Comedy Series at the 2022 Primetime Emmy Awards, with Quinta also winning for Best Actress in a Comedy Series and Sheryl winning Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy.

Sheryl was speechless for minutes after her name was announced before her husband and cast surrounded her with hugs until she was escorted to the stage.

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Sheryl Lee Ralph (center) also stars

There, she took a deep breath before Sheryl began to sing from Dianne Reeves' Endangered Species.

"I am an endangered species, but I sing no victims' songs. I am a woman, I am an artist, and I know where voice belongs," she sang, leaving the audience shocked and silent.

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