BROADWAY OR BUST
Friendly Rating: All ages
Safety Rating: Have note about cusswords, but can’t remember any
Quality Rating: It’s so good!
Three part series premieres tonight on PBS, check your local listings for times.
This documentary on the finals of a national contest for high school musical theatre students just points up everything that is fake, that is terribly wrong about pretty much every competition show on TV. These are the real kids that Glee is about.
Just about 60 teens from around the U.S., each having won their regional competitions, are gathered in New York City for The National High School Musical Theatre Awards – a one-week intensive boot camp of rehearsals, coaching, mentoring and brutal auditions, leading up to the final night performance and awards. Now, PBS brought some of the kids featured in the doc to the TCA Press Tour last summer to perform for us, so I knew they were amazingly talented.
What really rocks this documentary are the kids and their incredible awe and joy and humility. Hard to imagine from this crew of totally out there personalities, but they’re actually pretty wowed by their competition. Figure – you’ve got kids who’ve been the stars in their own small ponds suddenly confronted with other kids at least as talented. Yeeouch!
It’s a tough week, but the film makers really know how to highlight how hard it is with the teens’ boundless energy and enthusiasm. The result is just so much fun to watch, particularly the scene where musician Michael Feinstein comes in to work with the kids and runs one of them through his audition song “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” with Feinstein pointing out to the kid that he (Feinstein) used to work for Ira Gershwin, who was the lyricist for the tune composed by his brother George Gershwin. Think the kid was totally flipping out? Yeah. But he also pulls it off.
It’s not often that a show can get me feeling this happy just watching it, but this one did. It’s all about aspiration for your young ones, and just plain being happy doing what you love to do for those of your kids who don’t have those kinds of aspirations.