In TV’s Rise, the students and their teacher find meaning in a small-town high school musical
With stars Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and Rosie Perez (Fearless) and a strong cast of young performers, including Auli’i Cravalho of Moana, the drama revolving around a small-town high school and its theatre program clearly deserves attention. Don’t be misled by “musical” and “high school.” The series, inspired by the life’s work of teacher Lou Volpe that was detailed in Michael Sokolove’s 2013 book Drama High, doesn’t pick up where Glee left off. Radnor plays Lou Mazzuchelli, who finds himself in a rut teaching English and trying to cope with family tensions. He challenges the status quo and students by choosing to stage a provocative musical, Spring Awakening, instead of a more predictable, safe high school choice like Grease. As character-driven, non-genre shows they share a similar DNA, and Katims hopes that and the uplifting tone of Rise bode well for its future.