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Parkland Drama Students Gave a Moving Performance of Rent’s “Seasons of Love” at the Tony Awards

The drama department at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School made an emotional appearance at the Tony Awards, where they sang Rent’s “Seasons of Love”. Since the tragic shooting in February, the Parkland students have become a powerful voice in the fight against gun violence in the United States. The drama department had made appearances before, performing the song “Shine” which was written in the wake of the shooting.

There’s incredible strength and courage in continuing to sing and express oneself among the tragedy and terror of school shootings across the nation—the kind of freedom and artistic expression that Melody Herzfeld emphasized in her speech.

Herzfeld, the director of the drama department at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was honored with the Excellence in Theatre Education Award during the Creative Arts Awards portion of the ceremony. “Next to the passing of my dear parents and in-laws, marrying the love of my life and the birth of my amazing sons and reuniting with my theater students, there has never been a more defining moment of my life,” she said. “All the goodness and tragedy that has brought me to this point will never be erased.”

Herzfeld spoke about the lessons of drama, the space it creates, and advocated for art to be a core class in school curriculums. She spoke about the shooting, and the impact it had on her and her students.

“I remember on February 7, sharing a circle with my beloved students, and encouraging them to be good to each other when times were trying and to keep the family together. Accept everyone and make a difference.” she said. “And I remember only a week later, on Feb. 14, a perfect day, where all these lessons in my life and in my life and in their short lives would be called upon to set into action. Letting the stronger be our collective voice and supporting the rest that needed time.”

Afterwards, Matthew Morrison introduced the school’s drama department who brought the audience to tears and a standing ovation.

(via Vulture, image: screencap)

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