Musical Shines Light on Lives of Homeless Youth
Fair Lawn High School Meets Covenant House
Fair Lawn, New Jersey High School will be presenting the Broadway Musical Runaways March 21 – 24. The author and creative force behind Runaways, Elizabeth Swados based her production upon hundreds of interviews with runaway teens in the late 1970’s.
“These performers blew me away," said Kevin Ryan, Covenant House President and author of Almost Home, Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope. "I was lucky enough to see a pre-show performance and it brought tears to my eyes because these young actors, through music and drama, are telling the story of our Covenant House kids. Every year Covenant House provides food and shelter to over 2,000 homeless youth in New Jersey who otherwise would be left on the street. We are so grateful to John Giresi and his cast for bringing attention to the struggles of young adults who have been abandoned without love and shelter.” Pulitzer Prize Winner and co-author of Almost Home, Tina Kelley, will be speaking at two Fair Lawn High School assemblies to further bring the message home.
“Once we cast the show, it wasn’t enough for our amazing performers to simply learn the lines in their script,” said Giresi, Fair Lawn High School Musical Theatre Director. “The students wanted to meet and talk with young people who had lived it, had actually slept on the streets surviving on their own.” Giresi reached out to Covenant House in Newark, an organization that serves homeless youth between the ages of 18 and 21, and made a proposal. His group would come down to their Crisis Shelter and spend a morning leading theater games with Covenant House youth. Thirty Fair Lawn thespians and 22 Covenant House youth spent 3 hours together doing improv exercises and learning about each other’s lives and dreams. “It was one of the best days I have ever had,” said Matt Mucha who will be playing the role of Iggy in Runaways. “We are the same. We are all just kids with joys, and fears, and talents and struggles and dreams.”
Tickets for Runaways are now on sale. Performances are Thursday, March 21, at 7:30pm, Friday, March 22, at 8:00pm, Saturday, March 23, at 8:00pm, and Sunday, March 24, at 3:00pm. Tickets can be purchased Monday through Friday from 11:30 to 1:00 in the Fair Lawn High School D-Café, and online (mail order) by visiting the high school website at www.flhsmusicals.com.
The Runaways cast will also be performing at A Night of Future Broadway Stars in Ridgewood on April 29. Gifted rising stars from Bergen County high schools offer their talent to give back to less fortunate kids their age by raising funds for the homeless youth of Covenant House New Jersey. The evening will showcase show-stopping performances by Bergen County’s brightest young performers, Broadway Professionals, and appearances by Covenant House’s Talented Youth. Buy your tickets now at www.nightoffuturebroadwaystarsnj.org
For more information about Covenant House, contact Marcia Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fair Lawn High School musical theatre program has been recognized all over the tri-state area for excellence in musical theatre productions. Fair Lawn High School has won numerous awards by the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star and the Metropolitan Theatre Awards.