Broadway ensemblist and star of NBC's Rise Damon J. Gillespie takes us onto the set of the new musical drama to share his experience filming the musical within the show, Spring Awakening.
In this episode I did "All that's Known" which is Melchior's first number in Spring Awakening. Since Robbie, my character, is comfortable rapping, he raps the first verse of the song. As soon as Duncan Sheik saw me do it, I freaked out, like "THIS MAN WROTE THIS MUSIC," and here I am rapping it. Luckily, he came up to me and goes, "You know I was a little hesitant but I really like it." Literally the biggest sigh of relief after this, I feel like if Duncan let me rap, I got to do a Lin-Manuel Miranda rap in THE FIRST EPISODE... like things are gonna be okay? :)
We got to rehearse the musical-within-our show, Spring Awakening, kinda like a normal show or play. It felt the same but much more rushed, because we're trying to get the pilot done so they can edit it and see if it can get picked up by a network. I really enjoy filming, this is my first experience with a full-out TV drama episode, and I liked that we just got in and got out. I'm extremely appreciative that I had such a good working experience. Everybody that did it was either working on Friday Night Lights so they had a really great chemistry and short hand. I was just lucky to be thrown into it.
Thanks to creative people like Lin, Duncan, and Steven Sater, musical theatre is in this awesome new era. I know I'm not the first person to say this but like I feel like this show is going to perpetuate that theatre movement. Just like Josh Radner says "it's young, provocative.."