Tonight I played the last of three performances of Jason Robert Brown’s Parade in Anna, Texas. This is the fourth production of Parade I have played for and I always enjoy playing the show.
The first time I did this show it was a professional production at WaterTower theatre. That production was a lot of fun for all the wrong reasons, but that’s another story. One evening I was handed a note at intermission that a patron wanted to speak with me about possibly playing this show for her high school.
I, of course, went to find her after the show and that is when I met Janie Breor. She was the theatre instructor at Anna High School and she had a gaggle of her students with her to see our production. She told me she was working on Parade with her kids in Anna and she asked me if I would come and play for them.
Anna is 45 minutes from WaterTower, but more importantly it’s 90 minutes from my house. However, Janie was persistent and persuasive and I went and played the show in the Anna HS cafetorium (or auditoria).
They did an admirable job for pretty meager facilities and the kids were some of the sweetest high schoolers I think I’ve ever met.
That was six years ago and Janie asked me to come back out to play their second production of Parade this year. I graduate next week and Anna is still 90 minutes away, but how could I say no?
And I’m so glad I agreed to play…
When I arrived the first evening, a delegation of students was waiting outside prepared to carry all of my equipment into the theatre. They were just as courteous as they had been six years ago. Except this time they were housed in a brand new high school theatre which is really an incredible space and a stark contrast to the auditoria they used to perform from.
It was a pleasure to work with this new cast and several students really knocked it out. Perhaps the most touching memory I have came in the form of the Thank You card they all signed for me. There were tons of sweet compliments and thoughts, but one just knocked me over. It simply said, “You bring light and joy to the play.” – Liam
I can not think of a higher compliment. Thank you, Liam and Ms. Breor and all of the Anna HS theatre. You should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished and please know that you all made me feel so incredibly welcome that it was actually sad to drive away tonight.
There’s something very special going on in Anna, Tx. I hope you all know that.