Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Standbys

Tuesday night I saw a screening of The Standbys at the SF DocFest. The film follows 3 standbys covering star roles in big Broadway shows. It's a great idea for a documentary, & I enjoyed the movie even though I know nothing about Broadway musicals. Filmmaker Stephanie Riggs did a good job selecting 3 performers at very different points in their professional & personal lives. I was quickly made to feel that these people were my friends. I like how the film easily accesses those same feelings of yearning, disappointment, & fulfillment that one expects in a typical musical.

We frequently see just how ruthless show business can be. When the endearing Ben Crawford finally gets to take over the title role in Shrek, the film slyly interviews Eric Petersen, Mr. Crawford's bright-voiced standby who has his own aspirations to the part. The DocFest audience is savvy & was clearly not fooled by the ex-boyfriend of performer Aléna Watters when he gave her a shoulder rub during a stressful rehearsal.

§ The Standbys
Director: Stephanie Riggs
75 min. | USA | 2012

San Francisco Documentary Festival
Presented by IndieFest
Tue, Nov 13, 7:15 PM
Roxie Theater

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