And this is when -- if this was a musical it would happen halfway in the second act when everything looks hopeless -- Michael Price, executive director of Goodspeed Musicals told the kids they could put on the show at his Tony Award-honored Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam.
The letters, emails and calls of praise to Price and Goodspeed are plentiful and quite touching and show what can happen when artists band together in support of each other. (A lesson not learned, alas, during the right wing attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts in the late ‘80s and ‘90s.)
Later in the week, the folks at Hartford Stage offered its support -- and its theater. In a statement artistic director Darko Tresnjak said: “I find it heartbreaking and upsetting that in this enlightened and educated state, some students are clearly not getting that kind of support, decades later! Mike and I want students to know that there are people out here in the theatre profession who are thinking of them and looking forward to welcoming them into the field, where they will find greater acceptance.”
Perhaps these high-profile offers and the growing negative publicity on the town made the town’s leaders reconsider.
Herbst announced this week the show will be going on at the school after all, but it’s not clear when.
Guarino in a letter released Tuesday stated: “The learning opportunities are essential. To plan for these, I will be working collaboratively with various groups. I believe that this process can be accomplished during the 2013/14 school year if the performance dates can be delayed to Wednesday, April 30 through Sunday, May 4.”
The dates that Guarino proposes are in conflict with other sports and music activities in which the theater students participate.
Politics and egos still can’t create a simple exit strategy from this mess but at least now there’s some hope that the show will go on.
Now the question is when and with whom?
If you’re forcing kids to chose between the show and other long planned school activities, I’d say “Gotta Go Goodspeed.”
But maybe it’s still not too late for Guarino, perhaps taken by “Rent”‘s “season of love” theme (not to mention the Christmas spirit) to gather all the study guides, lesson plans and panel proposals from the high schools from around the country and pull something together so the show can go on as originally scheduled.
But whatever happens, the students have performed admirably, with passion, industriousness and imagination, challenging authority and themselves, in the spirit of “Rent.”
Added information about Hartford Stage's offer was included since the blog was first published Tuesday night.