‘Rise’ falls short in originality

May 3, 2018


Rise – Three and a half out of Five Stars



Staff Reporter | tmw055@latech.edu


High school theater just got a little more interesting with the new NBC series “Rise.” The show centers on high school students, teachers and parents in the small, fictional town of Stanton and, just like in a real setting, everyone knows each other.


Desiring to do something different and meaningful with his life, English teacher Lou Mazzuchelli proposes to take over the theater department, forcing him and previous theater head, Ms. Wolfe, to work together to produce the upcoming spring musical. In light of his new position, Mr. Mazzu decides to replace the planned production of “Grease” with “Spring Awakening,” a musical about teenagers coming to terms with sexuality, abortion and death. This adjustment creates conflict among the school and parents, leaving the production underfunded and having Lou and Ms. Wolfe become resourceful of what the department already has.


With “Rise,” you get to witness behind the scenes of what it is like putting on a big musical in addition to the harsh realities that goes along with it. Because of this, you have characters that people can relate to on an emotional level. At Stanton High, there is the transgender student with an amazing voice, the kid with an alcohol addiction, the talented performer coming to terms with his sexuality and a teenager who becomes pregnant.


Within the first few episodes, you get to witness  the characters’ powerful voices develop into their own. Each character has their own issues they’re currently going working through, which is displayed by their emotions during their musical numbers. With this, it is clearly implied that the theater program serves as the students’ safe space, where they can go and be themselves without being judged by the world.


On a different note, the show takes me back to a “High School Musical” perspective, where Troy Bolton and Robbie Thorne, portrayed by Damon Gillespie, seem to be cut from the same cloth. Robbie is a character that breaks the status quo as he struggles to balance his musical debut with being the star player of the football team.


“Rise” may have a few unoriginal plots, but somehow it still keeps you watching and excited for what the next episode will reveal.


Even though the show is still trying to come into its own, the first seven episodes display the potential that it has to grow as a series of its own.


“Rise” is the perfect show that portrays theater life along with the reality of growing up in a small town. I give this show a 3.5 out of 5 stars because even though some of the plots have already been seen by other projects like “Glee,” it does have the potential to become one of the most talked about shows today.


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