At last night’s Tony Awards, drama students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took the stage for an emotional performance of “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent.”
The surprise performance, which received a standing ovation from the teary-eyed audience, was in tribute to the classmates they lost on February 14 during the shooting at their Parkland, Florida high school. Seventeen people were killed, including 14 students, and 17 others were injured.
Watch their touching tribute in the clip below:
Teacher and Parkland drama department director Melody Herzfeld was honored at the Tony Awards last night as well. She received the 2018 Excellence in Theatre Education Award from the Broadway League, the American Theatre Wing and Carnegie Mellon University, and will receive $10,000 to put towards the drama program at the school.
Herzfeld sheltered 65 students in her office for over two hours during and after the school shooting. In her acceptance speech last night, she spoke about the importance of arts education as an outlet for young people and praised her students for their strength and resilience in the wake of this tragedy.
Watch her whole speech in the video below:
“We have all known that the future of the world was about collaborative creativity, and here we are, the future, changed for good,” she said.
For the students who performed at the Tony Awards, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I’ve been dreaming that since I was, I think, like 8 years old,” Kali Clougherty, one of the student singers who had a solo during the performance, told NBC’s “Today.”
“I just graduated high school and I’m not even on Broadway yet, and I got to do what a lot of Broadway people haven’t even had to do yet.”
The Parkland students were introduced by “Glee” star Matthew Morrison ahead of their performance. Morrison said that he had performed with the students at a benefit earlier this year and praised their ability to channel “their intense feelings of hurt and rage and sorrow into art.”
Congratulations to the students on their beautiful and emotional performance! And thank you, Melody Herzfeld, for the important role you have played in so many children’s lives.