I ended my day in our rehearsal for the school edition of RENT, our spring musical. Students were leading one another in warm ups before blocking the song “La Vie Boheme.” Before auditions a couple weeks ago, I stopped in to speak with the group of students who were interested in performing in RENT. I wanted these students to understand why Crossroads is particularly well-equipped for staging a musical with characters who have such complex lives and identities. I wanted them to understand that the story they would be telling together is representative of real experiences. I wanted them to be prepared for moments of discomfort, in themselves and in the audience. And I wanted to assure them that I believed they could tell this story with particular heart and empathy.

Being ourselves and having our own voices is a hallmark of the experience of Crossroads. I believe our students also know this experience only works when we are curious about the selves and voices of others, when we work to listen well, and when we collaborate across our differences. This takes courage and vulnerability, and because of this, our students develop great insight into themselves and others while they are here. For these reasons and others, Crossroads is so well suited for the story that RENT depicts.

I want students to grow in their skills as actors, singers, dancers, and tech crew. I want them to grow closer together as they rehearse this musical, and I want them to have fun. I believe that they can do all of these things while using this experience to deepen their knowledge, understanding, and empathy for people and situations that are so different from theirs. I hope that our experience as audience members will result in the same deepening as well.

With great expectations,