Gay character rewritten as straight to be relatable

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Rise is a new show coming to NBC based on the real-life story of gay theatre teacher, Lou Volpe, but the screenwriters changed the character’s sexuality. Volpe worked for 40 years as a high school teacher and his life was written about by Michael Sokolove in Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theatre. Bringing his schgool back to life after a long-time recession and tried to come in terms with who he is and who he wants to love. Rise is based on Volpe’s story, however, his re-written character Lou Mazzucchelli played by Josh Radnor is not gay. Executive producer Jason Katims explained that they decided to write the character as straight just for people to connect with the story rather than to focus on the teacher’s sex life, he wanted to erite a story of his own inspired by the book. The decision to rewrite the character as straight will also have a direct impact on the true story of Volpe. Volpe became known for having his students take on difficult plays, one of which was Spring Awakening – his first show for the school. Volpe’s choice of that play was significant because it deals with the challenges of sexuality and by not having the lead character portrayed as homosexual it takes a lot of context away from the story.

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