The “Rise” of a New Show

Emily Dozier, Staff Writer

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NBC’s new, highly anticipated show, Rise, premiered on March 13th, following a new episode of the network’s hit show This Is Us. Rise is a mix of High School Musical, Glee, and Friday Night Lights. It follows the typical high school “arts versus sports” mentality; one of the drama’s main character is forced to participate in both football and the school musical of Spring Awakening. Based off the book Drama High, the show stars Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother, alongside Rosie Perez, Ted Sutherland, Damon Gillespie, and Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced Moana.

Rise takes its audience on the journey of Stanton High’s theater department. First-year director Lou Mazzuchelli takes the club out from under the wing of, the more experienced, Tracey Wolfe. Mazzuchelli’s decision to change the play from Grease to Spring Awakening sparks a dispute in the in working-class Pennsylvania town. His choice to cast star football player, Robbie, as the lead causes the coach to get even more angry about the musical. While Mazzuchelli’s son is driven into alcoholism, the family brings in a foster boy, causing Lou’s son, Gordy, to become jealous. While one household gets stirred up, two others are in the middle of turmoil. The mother of Lisette, the teenage girl with the lead in the musical, has an affair with the football coach, who happens to be the father of Gwen, the Sharpay of the show. When Gwen doesn’t get the lead in Spring Awakening, it only causes even more of a dispute between the two different families. Meanwhile, Simon is almost taken out of his school for his decision to participate in the production, upsetting his strict Catholic parents. The show even features a young transgender boy, whom the other students at Stanton seem to accept gracefully-so far.

Even if the show is only three episodes in, it has taken few risks, and seems to be a repeat of an all too familiar plot. Star male athlete is pulled from his team to be the star in the school’s musical. He falls in love with the shy, female co-star, while struggling with the judgements of sports fans. Another co-star, in this case Simon, grapples with his own sexuality. Critics say the series is somewhat of a repeat of Friday Night Lights, while some say the overall tone of the show becomes more vibrant throughout the second half of the ten-episode season. No matter what some viewers think, Rise will continue to act as some sort of nostalgia for older generations, while it’ll act as a binge-worthy series for the younger ones.

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Emily Dozier, Staff Writer

Emily Dozier is a junior in her third semester of journalism. She is a volleyball player and hopes to continue the sport into college, as well as pursue...

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The “Rise” of a New Show