Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

BOOK REVIEW Drama High: The Incredible True Story...
by Terri Schlichenmeyer
2016-01-06

This article shared 4677 times since Wed Jan 6, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


By Michael Sokolove, $27.95; Riverhead Books; 352 pages

Sometimes, you just don't feel like yourself.

Lately, for instance, you've been acting differently and people have noticed. You wear outfits you wouldn't normally wear and you say the oddest things. It's almost like you're possessed by another person.

Such is the life of an actor in a play: to do it right, to convince an audience, you have to become someone you're not. You know the pressure can be enormous, so read Drama High by Michael Sokolove, then imagine performing with New York theatre executives in the audience.

Like most schools, Harry S Truman High School in Levittown, Pennsylvania, had its budget slashed last year. Gone are extravagances, extracurriculars, and extraneous activities. But teacher Lou Volpe's theatre classes survived the cuts, just like they had for some forty years.

Volpe hadn't intended on becoming Truman High's drama teacher; in fact, before he was hired, he'd had zero experience with theatre. None at all. But, as he did many other times ( and like many other teachers ), he threw himself into making Truman's students into a first-class troupe.

Michael Sokolove, one of Volpe's students back in the 1970s, remembered the way Volpe had of finding one special, latent talent that each of his students had, and highlighting it. Volpe urged his students, stood up for them, supported them, and expanded their horizons, making them want more from life. Sokolove remembered spaghetti suppers at Volpe's house, and never wanting to disappoint his teacher.

But he also remembered the town in which Truman High sat. Once a subdivision of the future, Levittown was the kind of place people moved away from, and hard times only made it worse.

Still, Volpe and his drama students made their school proud through first-class, competition-winning, Broadway-quality plays—but not of the Arsenic and Old Lace ilk. No, Volpe liked to push his students to the edge of their comfort zones, asking them to sing and act in ways they didn't think they could, making them become people they didn't think they'd ever be—both personally, and on-stage.

And in doing so, Volpe changed their lives.

Like any good actor, "Drama High" plays several roles.

For adults, it's definitely a book of nostalgia. Like many people, author Michael Sokolove moved away from Levittown, and his trip back is filled with wistfulness and eagerness to see how time alters old memories.

For students—especially those who are struggling or who harbor a secret love of theater—and for their parents, Volpe's story offers strength and an urge to commit to ones' heart. His students spurned sports in favor of stage and in turn, he supported their dreams and nurtured their talents. Some of his former students, in fact, have become Emmy winners, entertainment executives, and Broadway actors.

Despite that it occasionally shows a tone of despair, it's hard not to cheer when you've got this story in your hands. I loved it, and I think that if you're a Broadway fan, an actor, or a parent of either, you'll sing the praises of Drama High, too.

Want more? Look for Filled with Glee: The Unauthorized Glee Companion by Leah Wilson; or Glee: The Beginning: An Original Novel by Sophia Lowell.


This article shared 4677 times since Wed Jan 6, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Lambda Literary announces award finalists 2023-03-16
--From a press release - Lambda Literary has announced the finalists in 25 categories for the 35th Annual Lambda Literary Awards. The finalists were selected by a panel of over 65 literary professionals from more than 1,350 book submissions. These selections ...


Gay News

House Musical, Coming of Age in the Age of House, coming to Hoover-Leppen Theatre 2023-03-14
--From a press release - Campsongs Productions presents the world premiere of House Musical - Coming of Age in the Age of House, with book by Marcus Waller, music by Scott Free (with Michael Foley) and lyrics by Scott Free and ...


Gay News

Author Rafael Frumkin displays Confidence with their latest work 2023-02-25
- Rafael Frumkin is a transgender author who is heading to Chicago for a March 8 appearance at Women & Children First in Andersonville with their latest offering Confidence. Confidence is the story of Ezra Green, ...


Gay News

Theater Review: Cabaret continues to reflect on our modern challenges 2023-02-14
- Title: Cabaret. Book: Joe Masteroff; Score: John Kander & Fred Ebb. At: Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. Tickets: 773-777-9884 or www.PorchlightMusicTheatre.org; prices begin at $25. Runs through ...


Gay News

Gay Calif. lawmakers introduce Prop 8 repeal 2023-02-14
- On Valentine's Day, two gay California lawmakers introduced a constitutional amendment to repeal Prop 8—the state's same-sex marriage ban that remains on the books despite being ruled unconstitutional years ago, according to The Bay Area Repo ...


Gay News

Famed gay publicist Howard Bragman dies at 66 2023-02-12
- Howard Bragman—a gay publicist whose clients included Sharon Osbourne and Stevie Wonder, among many others—died at age 66 after privately battling acute monocytic leukemia, Deadline reported. After graduating from ...


Gay News

"A Secret I Can't Tell" book updated and reissued 2022-12-07
-- From a press release - NEW YORK, NY — NOVEMBER 14, 2022 — In 2020 the United States Supreme Court ruled that 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. But now Florida's "Don't say gay" ...


Gay News

Bulls, Blackhawks lose; Lightfoot-Fire FC link 2022-12-01
- The Chicago Bulls (9-12) fell to the Phoenix Suns (15-6) 132-113 in Arizona on Nov. 30, dropping the Bulls to 12th in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix now leads the Western Conference. Devin Booker scored 51 for ...


Gay News

Book censorship focus of public comments at Lincolnwood Public Library Board of Trustees meeting 2022-11-30
- During the closed door portion of the regularly scheduled Lincolnwood Public Library Board of Trustees meeting Nov. 28 at Lincolnwood Village Hall, Library Defense members hosted a Freadom Book Swap outside of the building. Library Defense ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT What are the most banned books: take a guess 2022-11-18
- The Latin word for book is liber. It is also the Latin word for "free," as in not a slave but a person who enjoys freedom (liberty). The word library means a home for books, a place of liberation, a sacred ...


Gay News

Opinion: What are the most banned books? Take a guess. 2022-11-14
- The Latin word for book is liber. It is also the Latin word for "free," as in not a slave but a person who enjoys freedom (liberty). The word library means a home for books, a place of liberation, a sacred ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: COVID book, 'Wicked' cocktails, 'A Taste of Hope' and more 2022-10-24
- —COVID-19, the LGBTQIA+ Community and Public Policy: As studies emerge to help us understand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on every facet of modern life, it is critical that the effect of the pandemic on ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ HISTORY MONTH bell hooks: A voice of love, activism and intersectionality 2022-10-22
- When bell hooks died on Dec. 15, 2021, it was a gut punch. There was no time when bell hooks' extraordinary writing and feminist and lesbian theorizing was not part of the queer community. There was ...


Gay News

Former Chicago Ald. Helen Shiller hosts book launch and reception 2022-10-20
- Publishing house Haymarket Books presented a book-signing and interview session with longtime LGBTQ+ ally and former Chicago Ald. Helen Shiller on Oct. 17. Shiller was interviewed by noted Chicago Tribune ...


Gay News

BOOKS Lesbian co-author discusses 'No More Police: A Case for Abolition' 2022-10-18
- "We don't need all the answers to start down the road toward where we want to go: a world where everyone has safety, food, clean water, shelter, education, health, art, beauty, and rest."—No More Police: A ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.