The show must go on. By any means (un)necessary.
Logline A young director/playwright duo and a rag-tag group of actors attempt to stage an ambitious new play in their sleepy hometown theatre.
What's a day in the life of a small town community theatre? A documentary crew is eager to find out. It's audition day and Pryor and Murphy, a young director/playwright duo, are excited to cast their ambitious new play. Neither of them are quite prepared, however, for what the Fitzgerald Theatre has to offer.
The play has been cast and the group comes together for their first read-through. There's just one problem: a member of the theatre's board drops by and discovers what "experimental theatre" actually means. Meanwhile, Madeline, the no-nonsense Stage Manager, puts her assistant Leonard through theatre boot camp.
Rehearsals get off to a rocky start when the power goes out at the theatre. Pryor takes the opportunity to delve into character study, leading to a rift between Chip, the show hottie, and his more dedicated understudy. Murphy searches for the cause of the outage and makes a startling discovery in the prop loft.
Excitement is in the air as Zak Hunter--better known as TV's vigilante heartthrob "Dark Ryder"-- hosts an acting workshop for the cast. Pryor's schoolyard jealousy gets the better of him while the cast realizes that Zak isn't all he's cracked up to be. Parker, the investigative grad student, continues her study of Murphy just as Murphy becomes aware of his feelings for her.
After an elaborate prop is broken, a war breaks out between the cast and crew. Madeline begins to assemble her ace design team, including an overly aggressive costume designer and a props master who isn't allowed in Las Vegas anymore. Murphy contends with his feelings for Parker, and Pryor gets a scolding from his father.
It's go time at the Fitz as the cast attempts its first run-through of the play. Jeffrey tries to feed an unprepared Chip his lines, Parker is distracted by her midterm, and an actor quits at intermission. To top it all off, Stan has a personal crisis and Pryor has to make a bold move to help him find his confidence again.
After the unsuccessful stumble-through, the board of the theatre threatens to cancel the show, so Pryor and Madeline work up a presentation to change their minds. Onstage, the cast rehearses a dance with their judgmental choreographer while backstage, Parker and Murphy share a few secrets.
The good news: they didn't cancel the show. The bad news: they cut half its budget. Pryor and Murphy prepare to sell their souls as they hit up local businesses for donations; back at the theatre, the actors' car wash fundraiser takes an unexpected turn. Anything for the show.
While investigating the theatre's "make-out spot," castmates Lucas and George inadvertently lock themselves in the costume loft. It's every man for himself as the documentary crew tries to survive through the night, while Lucas and George quickly lose their grip on reality.
Pryor gets a call from his old pal Zak and finds himself in New York to interview for a directing gig, leaving Murphy and Madeline to run things at the Fitz. The cast and crew begin tech rehearsals, coming to understand all too well why it's referred to as "hell week."
Tensions are high as the cast prepares for their first performance in front of an audience. Chip has to step in for an injured Stan, forcing Jeffrey to fill in for Chip. Murphy and Parker argue during intermission, and Stan helps Pryor out with a difficult decision.
It's opening night! Everything finally seems to be working outÉ until everyone notices the protest outside the theatre. Pryor and Murphy realize that they have to band together in order to make their play happen. The show, after all, must go on.
The eternally optimistic director, Pryor grew up at the Fitzgerald Theatre and is desperate to prove himself to the board of the theatre, his old rivals, and his father. He is dorky, charming, sometimes tries too hard, and misquotes Shakespeare a lot.
Murphy is an eager but misguided playwright whose actual talent as a writer is sometimes eclipsed by his need to be an "Eccentric Creative Genius." He and Pryor have a very devoted (and almost weirdly physically comfortable) friendship. Murphy also has a budding crush on Parker that develops throughout the season.
At first glance, Madeline comes off as cold, strict, and terrifying, but she is the force that maintains order and sanity in an otherwise insane world. She is kind of a ferocious she-wolf that for some reason has chosen to adopt a herd of awkward raccoons to help them figure out how to live their lives. She has a particularly complicated relationship with Leonard, her protege.
For Stan, being in this show is the epitome of a mid-life crisis. He is timid and lacks confidence, but feels the need to try new things; we discover (ep. 6) that his crisis is sparked by a divorce. Pryor takes a chance on Stan in casting him as the lead, and over the course of the season, Stan's ability and confidence grow.
The world of theatre confounds Parker, and her relationship to actors is that of a zoologist studying a fascinating but potentially dangerous herd of animals; in fact, she is using her experience in this show as material for her master's thesis. She eventually grows to appreciate, understand, and even love the theatre and the weird people in it. Her relationship with Murphy begins as clinical fascination but develops into more of a romantic interest.
On the surface, Chip is a smooth, entitled womanizer; he relies on his great hair and smolder to skate through life without putting in any effort. It's only when he experiences a drastic failure (ep. 6) that we see through the facade and realize that in a room full of insecure theatre people, Chip might be the most insecure and uncertain of them all.
Thank You, 5 is proudly set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico