Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rise Up! (Chris Jones)

The thoroughly researched Rise Up! comes from Chris Jones, chief theatre critic of the Chicago Tribune. In it, Jones explores the sociological and political ramifications throughout the history of Broadway, showing a direct line from Angels in America to Hamilton.

So often, Broadway can be seen as a mirror of ourselves and what is happening in society. As Jones says about Hamilton, people come out of the theatre inspired to take on the challenges of their own lives. He also discusses how Angels in America helped people understand the AIDS crisis and how Broadway became a solace after the horrors of 9/11. More issue-heavy works such as Spring Awakening and of course, Rent, are also explored.

All this being said, Rise Up! is not without its problems. The writing really rambles on at times without cohesion. It also seemed that no matter which play or musical Smith was describing, he couldn't help comparing whatever it was to Hamilton. However, if you can read through the minutiae, Rise Up! is an enjoyable book for theatre lovers.