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What is 'Spring Awakening'? Learn About the Musical in 'Rise'

Spring Awakening is one of the most beloved Broadway musicals of the millennium and the new NBC series Rise is putting it into the spotlight! If you’re not familiar with the show, let us fill you in.

The show is based on a German play of the same name from 1891 and follows the sexual awakening of a group of young people. The story is set in late 19th century Germany, but the themes still resonate to today.

Spring Awakening opened on Broadway in November 2006 after a successful run off-Broadway and the show launched the careers of original cast members Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, John Gallagher Jr., Skylar Astin, and others. It won eight Tony Awards in 2007, including Best Musical, and the cast album won a Grammy Award.

The show got a revival on Broadway in late 2015 thanks to the Deaf West theatre company and the production featured deaf actors with speaking counterparts in some roles.

In Rise, Josh Radnor‘s character decides to produce a production of Spring Awakening at the high school where he works and it causes controversy in the community due to the musical’s subject matter.

Watch Rise on NBC on Tuesday nights at 10/9c.

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Shannon Purser's Role on NBC's 'Rise' Was Written Just for Her!

Shannon Purser is best known for her role as Barb on Stranger Things and now TV audiences will get to watch her on NBC’s new musical series Rise.

The 20-year-old Emmy-nominated actress plays the role of drama club member Annabelle in the new series and her role was actually written specifically for her!

Casting director Tiffany Little Canfield opened up to THR about how Shannon became involved with the project.

Shannon is a funny story because obviously she was Barb on Stranger Things and was fantastic in that role. She was in Los Angeles and we had a general with her, again, where we just basically meet the actor and talk to them. When we were talking to Shannon, she told us about how she loved musicals and she did musicals. She’s from Atlanta and auditioned for [Stranger Things] as a local hire for a day player role and it turned into Barb. When we found out she did musicals, of course we clocked that in our memory because we love to work on musicals,” Tiffany said.

“So when this show came up we brought her in, and what was really exciting there is that Jason was so enamored with her that he created a role. Her role was not initially in the search. It was actually created for Shannon because he felt so much that she fit our ensemble,” she added.

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Auli'i Cravalho Looks Stunning at 'Rise' Premiere in NYC!

Auli’i Cravalho looks beautiful on the red carpet!

The 17-year-old actress and singer was joined by fellow castmates and other celebrities at the premiere of her new show Rise at Landmark Theatre on Wednesday night (March 7) in New York City.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Auli’i Cravalho

Sara Bareilles hit the red carpet to support boyfriend Joe Tippett, who stars in the series.

Abigail Spencer, Josh Radnor, Shannon Purser, Ben Feldman, Casey Johnson, Ted Sutherland, Taylor Richardson, Rachel Hilson, Rosie Perez, Marley Shelton, Joe Tippett, Damon J. Gillespie, Jaime Cepero, Jason Katmis, Sean Grandillo, Rarmian Newton and Ellie Desautels all joined Auli’i on the red carpet.

FYI: Auli’i is wearing a Cynthia Rowley dress and gorjana jewelry. Shannon is wearing a Rachel Roy suit, a Calvin Klein shirt, and Aldo shoes.

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NBC's 'Rise' Super Bowl Commercial 2018 - Watch Now!

A new trailer for the upcoming musical NBC series Rise debuted during the 2018 Super Bowl!

The clip features the show’s stars Damon J. Gillespie, Auli’i Cravalho, Amy Forsyth, and Ted Sutherland putting their own spin on the song “Glorious” by Macklemore and Skylar Grey.

Josh Radnor and Rosie Perez also star in the upcoming drama from Jason Katims, the creator of Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, and Jeffrey Seller, the producer of Hamilton.

Here’s the synopsis: When dedicated teacher Lou Mazzuchelli (Radnor) sheds his own self-doubt and takes over the school’s lackluster theatre department, he galvanizes not only the faculty and students but the entire working-class town.

Rise premieres on Tuesday, March 13 at 10/9c on NBC.

Rise – Super Bowl Commercial
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Auli'i Cravalho Is Ready to 'Rise' at Winter TCA Tour 2018!

Auli’i Cravalho is ready to Rise!

The 17-year-old actress and singer hit the stage during the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on Tuesday (January 9) in Pasadena, Calif.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Auli’i Cravalho

Auli’i stars in the upcoming NBC musical drama, which debuts on March 13.

The show is about an earnest high-school drama coach who recruits a reluctant football player to appear in the controversial school musical, Spring Awakening. Auli’i plays a student actor, Lilette Suarez.

“Part of me was able to relate to her pain, and her mother who just wanted the best for her,” she said during the press tour.

Jason Katims, Damon J. Gillespie, Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez and executive producers Jeffrey Seller and Flody Suarez all appeared on the panel.

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