‘Rise’: Producers Respond to Controversy, Aim to Explore Lgbtq Issues With Groundbreaking Teen Characters

Facing concerns over the lead character on their new drama, the creators of “Rise” explained their reasoning via a statement to Entertainment Weekly.

Rise” is inspired, but not based on, Michael Sokolove’s book “Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater.” That’s where some of the misunderstanding has arisen — this is not an adaptation of “Drama High.”

On “Rise,” Josh Radnor will play a straight teacher, whereas the book’s inspiration, Lou Volpe, is gay; that choice prompted some criticism ahead of the show’s premiere in March. “The misinterpretation by some of what we’ve done with this show goes against what we fundamentally believe and who we are as individuals,” executive producers Jason Katims, Jeffrey Seller (“Hamilton”) and Flody Suarez wrote in a statement to EW.

“We are firmly committed to Lgbtq inclusion, and most of all,
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