Directed by Amy Rice, following the complex road to reopening Broadway, chronicling the hundreds of restaurant owners and staff, costume houses, designers and more. Starring: Jewelle Blackman, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Ginna Claire Mason, Adam Perry, Robbie Fairchild, Lynn Nottage, Brian Blythe, John Kristiansen, T. Oliver Reid, Tom Kirdahy and Kevin McCollum.
The closure of Broadway didn’t simply take away the livelihood of its community but left a gaping hole in the lives of cast and crew alike. Leaving them in the lurch for not only what to do for their income but to create a new creative outlet. It dips into the intense frustration, fear and sadness of the appearance of COVID-19 then follows the path to reunion and reopening. Showing the resilience, community spirit and unfailing enthusiasm of Broadway. It’s sweet to watch and easy to relate to given that the whole world struggled alongside them. It also captures the theatre atmosphere, the love for the dramatics, the music and the costumes. Putting it simply, it’s exactly what you think it’s going to be, and that has its positives and negatives.
Its key negative is that it’s hitting the same note throughout, there may be variety to the footage but the tone remains the same. Meaning that it becomes fairly repetitive, there isn’t really anywhere else for it to go so it can’t build a bigger energy. It’s still interesting viewing and worth watching but will unsurprisingly serve theatre fans a lot better than it will others. However, it is a bonus to take a look behind the scenes, to give viewers a larger idea of what goes into a Broadway show.
Possibly its most effective moments are those documenting the worst of the pandemic, and how much it took from people. Those scenes hold its biggest sincerity and hit hardest, which then makes its moments of triumph even warmer. Rice’s direction enhances those emotional moments with a very personal feel, you can sense the dedication of everyone involved to theatre. Outside of that, and a few good handheld shots towards the end, it feels fairly standard.
Broadway Rising captures the intense sadness and fear of Broadway closing alongside the unfettered happiness of it reopening. It’s a journey we all know by now but it’s still interesting to see it from a more intimate perspective. It can feel fairly repetitive, treading a lot of the same ground and remaining within a singular tone throughout. It will be a good watch for theatre fans but might not have a tonne to offer for others.