NBC has shown another trailer to "Rise" during the Super Bowl. The high school musical drama series will launch in the network in March but it's already generating curiosity and interest. What is the series all about?
The show is a musical that centers on misfits of students put together by a passionate a drama teacher, Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor), in a fictional high school in Pennsylvania. The first season opens with the students preparing to mount their version of "Spring Awakening."
"Moana" star Auli'i Cravalho leads the cast among the students that also includes Casey W. Johnson, Marley Shelton, Shirley Rumiekrk, Ted Sutherland, Damon J. Gillespie, Taylor Richardson, Rarmian Newton and Ellie Desautels. Rosie Perez plays the other teacher helping out Radnor's character.
"Rise" is based on the book "Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater" written by journalist Michael Sokolove. He focused on an actual high school drama teacher, Lou Volpe, who introduced plays like "Les Miserables" and "Rent" in his school. Volpe became the inspiration for Radnor's Mazzuchelli
The series, however, raised a controversy after it was revealed that Radnor's character would be played as a straight guy. In the book, Volpe was depicted as a married and closeted gay.
"I felt like it was important to me to honor what the source material was," Radnor said. "But then to also kind of make it my own so that we would all be able to sort of lean in and do the work that we need to do as actors and writers."
Radnor also stated that the producers consulted with GLAAD representatives for the storylines. Creator Jason Katims also stated that the show would not have any problems writing stories about sexuality.
"Rise" will premiere on NBC on Tuesday, March 13, at 10 p.m. EST. The show will slide down to the 9 p.m. slot the following week to replace "This Is Us" for the rest of the season.