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NBC's 'Rise' Rewrote The Gay Main Character As Straight

NBC’s musical theater series Rise rewrote the closeted gay main character as straight so the creator could better connect with him…
This March, Rise will premiere on NBC, based on the true story of a gay Pennsylvania teacher named Lou Volpe. The series will follow a high school teacher in a predominantly blue-collar town as he revives the school’s theater program with plans to put on a production of Spring Awakening.
Jason Katims, best known for his work on Friday Night Lights, has adapted Michael Sokolove’s book based on Volpe for NBC, but has admitted that he has changed the sexuality of the main character in order to connect with the story.
At the Television Critics Association press tour panel for Rise earlier this week, Katims “explained he changed this aspect of his main character to be able to connect with the story.”
However, Katims insisted that Rise will nonetheless explore LGBT issues with other characters. Volte, Splinter points out, has been rounded out “by giving him a son with a drinking problem.”
The Rise showrunners added that making Volpe heterosexual won’t reduce the impact of a school production of Spring Awakening, which addresses adolescent sexuality and homosexuality.

Rise premieres on Tuesday, March 13 on NBC.

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