‘Rise’: 5 Things To Know About The Next Great High School Musical Drama by HUMANITAS Trustee Jason Katims
If you’ve been wanting a teen drama to watch on TV, you’re in luck. Rise will debut on NBC in 2018. Here’s everything you need to know about the show!
1. It’s a new kind of high school drama. At first glance, the show looks like Glee 2.0, but it’s completely different. There’s a musical element to Rise, but there’s a much deeper element of drama. Rise follows dedicated teacher Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) as he takes over his high school’s theater department. His ideas inspire the faculty, the students, and the entire working-class town. This show is going to feature some tear-jerking moments and some powerful musical performances.
2. Rise stars a group of very talented young actors. Auli’i Cravalho, the voice of Moana, plays Lilette Suarez in the series. Damon J. Gillespie, Ted Sutherland, Rarmian Newton, Taylor Richardson, Ellie Desautels, and Casey Johnson round out the younger cast members who are series regulars. You may not know the names of these actors now, but you will after watching Rise. If you’re Stranger Things fan, you’ll spot Shannon Purser (a.k.a Barb) in the series as well!
3. The premiere is not that far away. Rise will premiere Tuesday, March 13 on NBC.
4. The show is an original story inspired by a popular book. Rise, created by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood), is inspired by the book Drama High by Michael Sokolove. Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller also executive produces the series. The characters in the show are new and have original stories written as part of the storylines created for the series.
5. Rise has already stirred up controversy. The show is inspired by the true story of high school teacher Lou Volpe, who was the focus of Drama High. Lou was a closeted married man who later came out as gay. In Rise, the character of Lou Mazzuchelli will be a straight man. Jason talked about Rise at the Television Critics Association’s annual winter press tour: “Well, I think that the source material that you’re talking about, Drama High and that teacher, Lou Volpe, was such an inspiration to me and to everybody doing the show. To see somebody who, as you said, spent 44 years dedicated to this program was amazing. And I really hope that there is a ‑‑ and believe that there is a ‑‑ that we carry a lot of his spirit into the show.” He continued: “We took [the book] as an inspiration, and then I really felt like I needed to make it, you know, my own story. With Lou’s family life and Lou’s family itself, there’s a lot of reimagination. Not just in terms of gay or straight, but in terms of the family structure.” Jason stressed that Rise will not going to “shy away” from issues about sexuality. “I was inspired to tell the story of Michael, this transgender character, and Simon who’s dealing with his sexuality and growing up in a very conservative religious family,” Jason continued. “Those stories felt like they resonated with me as a storyteller, I wanted to lean into that.”