“Creativity is a form of knowledge.” -Diane Paulus quotes Harvard President Drew Faust during her “Pippin” acceptance speech at the 2013 Tony Awards.
As a high school drama teacher who is transitioning to middle school next year, I was struck while watching the Tony Awards by the number of children appearing on Broadway. The talent is overwhelming and the kids are give so many chances to shine; as orphans in Annie, the four Matilda’s, Revolting Children, the young Michael Jackson in Motown, the fabulous tappers in A Christmas Story and more. Billy Porter (Tony Winner for Best Leading Actor in a Musical) talked about watching the Tonys as a kid and finding his place in the world. Think of all the kids watching tonight and how amazing for them to see people their age living their dreams. It was inspiring to watch the energy and enthusiasm leap off the stage in almost a more heightened way then having seen most of the productions live this spring.
Diane Paulus quote about the importance of creativity really struck a chord for me. As an arts educator one is constantly fighting an uphill battle to justify the importance and existence of their program. When budgets are tight, the arts are usually the first to go, and are considered a “special” or not a real class. The arts are vital and teach so much more than just how to be in a play.
“Kinky Boots” (a big winner tonight) celebrates the idea of being yourself, and staying true to who you are and accepting others for who they are. What a great message for kids, and one that should be celebrated and encouraged. “Matilda” (another front runner) advocates telling your own story and not becoming complacent, make things happen, and don’t let them just happen to you. The idea of taking action and controlling your own destiny is another fantastic takeaway for students.
The arts aren’t dead, they are alive, evolving, and important. Teaching creativity and independent thinking is just as important for future success as English and Math. So, go see a Broadway show… The kids (and adults) on Broadway will blow you away and give you some hope for the future.
(Getting off my soap box)
Neil Patrick Harris was a fantastic host, the opening number was epic and I particularly enjoyed the “Television Sucks” sketch, tons of great performances and inspirational acceptance speeches that celebrate the importance and vitality of live theatre.