Songs For A New World - April 29 - April 30, 2021

Poudre High School

 End Notes 

Director's Notes

When I look back on this year, I hope I will not dwell the challenges and the hardships, the sacrifices and the scarcity, the missed opportunities and the plans we had to put on hold. I hope I will not get mired down in the fear of it all. Rather, I hope I will remember the courage of this past year: those who chose to stand up to their fear and chose to be brave. The nurses, the nursing home staffs, the grocery store clerks, the peaceful protestors. And these students, who chose to make Art instead of giving up.


Because I am tired of being scared. I think we all are. Of course, there are real things to be scared of right now, and I get that. I am not generally in favor of running into traffic or experimental home surgery. But the fear of this past year gets heavier each day, and it is stooping my shoulders and crushing my spirit and dragging me down. Perhaps you know the weight I'm talking about? Fear is it's own kind of virus, infiltrating our thoughts and infecting our hearts, and it's just as virulent and fatal.


This musical tries to share the story of our nation. I am an immigrant to this country--my son is the first member of my family born in the United States--and I'm coming to believe that the history of this country is the 245-year battle between those who are courageous and those who are cowardly, the ones who choose love and life against those who choose death and fear. We are too young and too new and too different to have any kind of role model or beaten path to follow, so ultimately, our choice is to be courageous or sell out to our fear. 


Songs for a New World is a collection of characters, scenes, and songs that describe the formation, evolution, and shifting realities of this nation. It's not our story told in dates and battles and people discussed in history textbooks (way too many of whom are white and male). What brings all of these wildly diverse Americans together are the bold choices that they make. The choices they are forced to make and the choices they have the liberty to make. They are not all right and they are not all good. But they are all brave. And that is why we chose this musical: it's time to be brave.


Seniors, you can choose to see your senior year as a string of diappointments, cancellations, and let-downs, or you can see what I see: a class of survivors and fighters. You have inspired me to try and be courageous, even when I wanted to quit. You have taught me that even in the midst of ugliness, there is still room and time to create. You have shown me that even in the worst of times, I don't have to sell out to my fear. I am grateful for your lessons, and so are the classes that follow you. If you continue to choose courage over fear, you will forever be stars and you will save this world.


If I could offer any advice, it is this: Plenty of people are selling fear these days. You can find it in abundance. And if you try to choose courage, you will be ridiculed, scorned and abandoned. You will be called fools, traitors, radicals by those who are afraid. But if you truly decide to be brave, people will flock to you, sustain you, lift you up, and follow your lead. We need your courage, your love, and your light. Know that I have seen it in you even if you haven't seen it in yourselves. Class of 2021, thank you, bravo, break a leg, and take a bow.


Here Forever,


April 25, 2021 (also 1492 and 1776)


P.S. People who make their living in the theatre have not been able to do their work in a year. I'm hopeful that we are heading towards a time when the theatres, concert halls, and dance companies can reopen their doors and turn on their lights, but I think we all know that will be the last step of our recovery. If you can donate to struggling theatre companies and theatre professionals, please do. I'm partial to this one:


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