Parkland shooting survivors preformed at the Tonys — and people were moved to tears


Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama students perform onstage during the 72nd Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 10, 2018

Student survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, performed “Seasons of Love” at the Tony Awards on Sunday night.
Members of the audience were moved to tears.
The MSD drama teacher Melody Herzfeld was given the Excellence in Theatre Education Award.

On Sunday night, the Tony Awards were truly full of surprises. Robert De Niro was censored for saying “f–k Trump.” There was a live goat in the audience. But the truly surprising and touching moment of the night came when student survivors of the Parkland school shooting performed “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent” for the crowd. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s drama department took the stage after their drama teacher Melody Herzfeld was presented with the Excellence in Theatre Education Award.

Each year, the award is given to a theatre educator who has influenced the lives of students and proved themselves to be an exemplary teacher. The winner was selected by a group of judges from American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University, and other theater industry leaders. Herzfeld received a $10,000 prize for her theater program.

During the February 14 shooting, Herzfeld hid 65 students in her drama classroom for two hours until they were brought to safety.

Many of her students have been outspoken in the months following the shooting — and Herzfeld thinks lessons her students learned in the drama classroom empowered them to emerge as leaders.

“We all want the same thing, we cannot deny it. To be heard, to hit our mark, to tell our truth, to make difference, and to be loyally respected. We teach this every day in every arts classes,” Herzfeld said. “Imagine if arts were considered core? A core class in education? Imagine.”

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