The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School‘s drama department have given an unexpected performance at today’s Tony Awards, moments after their teacher was honoured for sheltering them during February’s deadly school shooting.
The young ensemble performed iconic number Seasons Of Love from Rent, and received an emotional standing ovation in response.
I can’t even imagine performing at @TheTonyAwards as a student (or ever) mind blowing. I had chills at the 1st note #TonyAwards #SeasonsOfLove pic.twitter.com/taEgADOo6R
— Kittie Fahey (@kittyscratches) June 11, 2018
Viewers have commented on the tragic relevance of the lyrics, which call for life to be measured not in numerable achievements, but in the amount of love given.
That theme was raised minutes earlier, as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama teacher Melody Herzfeld was awarded for Excellence in Theatre Education.
Herzfeld hid 65 of her students and staff in her office for several hours before authorities rescued them, earning her immense praise within the theatre community and beyond.
“All the goodness and tragedy that has brought me to this point will never be erased,” Herzfeld said.
17 people were killed during the shooting, which spurred a new wave of gun control activism, much of it lead by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student body.
Now, their vocal defiance of hatred has made it to the most prestigious night in the theatre calendar.