Bette Midler and the cast of 'Abbott Elementary.'
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Bette Midler Wants To Play This Teacher’s Mom On Abbott Elementary

Will it happen? Quinta Brunson expertly left us on cliff-hanger.

by Kaitlin Kimont

Abbott Elementary’s cast of celeb special guests is growing faster than Janine and Gregory’s romance. Hollywood A-listers like Leslie Odom Jr., Ayo Edebiri, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Hart, and Bradley Cooper have all appeared on episodes of the hit sitcom and now another legend wants a role on the show. Bette Midler pitched herself for a specific role on Abbott Elementary and it sounds like everyone is on board.

On April 21, Midler wrote a little casting pitch she hoped would make its way to series creator, executive producer, and star Quinta Brunson. “Since I’m now using this website to pitch myself on TV shows, I would also like to play Melissa Schemmenti’s mother on ‘Abbott Elementary,’” she wrote on X. “If you see Quinta Brunson, please tell her.”

The message did indeed make its way to Brunson, who plays second-grade teacher Janine Teagues on the show and said this week that she’s “so honored” the Beaches actress wants to be on Abbott Elementary.

“I’m so honored that she wants to be on my show. It’s one of those surreal, pinch yourself moments that thee Bette Midler wants to be on the show,” Brunson told Entertainment Tonight. “I’m just beyond honored.”

Brunson didn’t confirm whether or not she’s been in talks with Midler about playing the mom of second-grade teacher Melissa Schemmenti, played by Lisa Ann Walter, but it does seem like a pretty spot-on casting.

If Walter had any say in it, it sounds like it’d be a no-brainer. “It would be a dream come true — [sadly] I’m not in charge of that department,” Walter told Entertainment Tonight. “She was an icon — is an icon still. She’s a really good actress. She’s not just like a balls out, you know, broad, which, she’s that too, which I think so is Melissa. She’s also she’s really talented, nuanced actress."

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The person who is in charge of that decision left us with a cliff-hanger. “Hey, we’ll see,” Brunson told Entertainment Tonight. “You never know.”

Abbott Elementary has already been renewed for Season 4, so there’s really no telling what could happen. Will Janine and Gregory finally give their romance a shot? Will Jacob grow his beard again? Who’s to say. But Brunson did tell Romper we can expect the writers to “think outside of the box” for jokes and storylines.

“In the first season, it was important to me to kind of think outside of the box for what people have seen with teachers or school shows already, then go a little bit deeper than that and really figure out what else is going on that audiences haven’t seen yet,” she said in 2022. “And I’m excited to do more of those: episodes people won’t be expecting, that will give them more insight on what a teacher’s day-to-day is like.”