Evocative behind-the-scenes documentary bringing the sometimes heartbreaking and often hilarious lives of Broadway's understudies and standbys into the spotlight.
New York Times Critics Pick
HOW WONDERFUL TO SEE THE VERY OFTEN UNSUNG HEROES OF BROADWAY, THE STANDBYS AND UNDERSTUDIES, GET THEIR DUE. IT IS PROBABLY THE HARDEST JOB IN THE THEATER, AND THIS TOUCHING DOCUMENTARY REVEALS THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THREE GIFTED PERFORMERS, WHO ARE STARS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, AND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A WORKING PROFESSIONAL. BRAVO.
~Nathan Lane, Actor
Forget “Smash” and its wan mystery about whether Ivy or Karen will star in the show about Marilyn Monroe. Stephanie Riggs’ backstage documentary, “The Standbys,” packs more intrigue and emotion into 90 minutes than the NBC series about making a musical did over a whole season.
~Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News
Stephanie Riggs’s doc The Standbys is as illuminating for theater fans, introducing the gifted and dedicated actors who, though dreaming of having their own names up in lights, take jobs as the back-up performers waiting in case the star takes “break a leg” too literally one night. Enjoyable and benefiting from a well selected trio of subjects, the film will please drama buffs and aspiring thespians.
~John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
Stephanie Riggs’ fast-moving documentary provides an intriguing and, at moments, disturbing look into that unexpected subculture. For those who are familiar with this universe, Standbys is a worthwhile refresher course; for those who aren’t, it’s an eye-opener.
~Simi Horwitz, Film Journal International
This charming and surprisingly moving theater documentary by Stephanie Riggs profiles three Broadway actors you’ve probably never heard of — because they’ve spent much of their careers as understudies and standbys for bigger-named stars. By the end, we’re rooting for all three to get their time in the footlights; all are, as we come to know them, clearly meant to be stars.
~Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times