In the spring of 2015, I directed and choreographed West Side Story. It was a personal triumph, mounting a production that I had never dreamed would be possible. That was the year magic happened.
The previous September, our district was the focus of a national report in an episode of This American Life, putting a spotlight on the mounting tensions of our district. Locally, we were also covered when a stabbing occurred at our school, an altercation between two students a few weeks before we opened our show. So much negative attention had the potential to dampen our spirits.
Then, I was contacted by Jamie Green, an alumni of my program. She had been quietly enjoying all of my social media buzz over the years about our theatrical triumphs. She had also seen the report, and asked herself, “If the school district is struggling and suffering so much, how is the theatre program flourishing?” She called me and asked if I was interested in being profiled for American Theatre Magazine. Of course the honor was all mine.
That June, Dancing on the Edge with Spring Valley High’s Thespian Troupe 721 was published in American Theatre. I was both humbled and flabbergasted that finally, someone with a voice outside our district had something wonderful to report about us. The fact that the subject was my program, well, icing on the cake.