The film follows Ben Crawford, who was the Shrek standby in Shrek the Musical and most recently understudied Norbert Leo Butz in Big Fish; Merwin Foard, who was the Gomez standby in The Addams Family, most recently understudied Anthony Warlow in Annie and will be a standby in Broadway's Aladdin; and Aléna Watters, who was the Anita standby in the 2009 revival of West Side Story.
The documentary, according to press notes, "takes a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of performers rarely glimpsed by audiences. These performers, known as 'standbys,' remain backstage, prepared to go on at a moment's notice. In this evocative behind-the-scenes documentary, the at times heartbreaking and hilarious lives of Broadway's understudies and standbys are finally brought into the spotlight. 'The Standbys' follows three undiscovered performers for several years through their ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, onstage performances and private lives. When these standbys are finally given the chance of a lifetime, anything can - and does - happen. The film features never-before-heard stories from industry insiders and celebrities who reveal the unimaginable struggles these under-appreciated performers endure as they wait in the wings for their shot at a dream that may never come true."
"The Standbys" also features additional interviews with Zachary Quinto, David Hyde Pierce, Bebe Neuwirth, Brian D'Arcy James, Cheyenne Jackson, Sutton Foster, Katie Finneran, Nelle Nugent and Jerry Zaks.
For more information, including times and locations, visit TheStandbys.com.
Here's a look back at the world premiere of the film.