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Drama High : The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater


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Product Description

The inspiration for the NBC TV series "Rise," starring Josh Radnor, Auli'i Cravalho, and Rosie Perez — the incredible and true story of an extraordinary drama teacher who has changed the lives of thousands of students and inspired a town. However, the television series portrays the main character as straight and a family man, whereas Lou Volpe was really closeted, and later came out as gay (which puts his obsession with staging ''Spring Awakening'' with its romance between two male characters in perspective). Here you can read the true story of Lou Volpe, and the incredible work he has done!

Why would the multimillionaire producer of ''Cats'', ''The Phantom of the Opera'', and ''Miss Saigon'' take his limo from Manhattan to the struggling former steel town of Levittown, Pennsylvania, to see a high school production of ''Les Misérables''?

He went to see the show performed by the astoundingly successful theater company at Harry S Truman High School, run by its legendary director, Lou Volpe. Broadway turns to Truman High when trying out controversial shows such as ''Rent'' and ''Spring Awakening'' before they move on to high school theater programs across the nation. And in four decades of teaching, this is where Volpe has changed the lives of thousands of children while uplifting a school and a town, with many of his students from this blue-collar town going on to become Emmy-winning producers, entertainment executives, newscasters, and community-theater founders.

Michael Sokolove, a Levittown native and former student of Volpe’s, chronicles the drama director’s last school years and follows a group of student actors as they work through riveting dramas both on and off the stage. This is a story of an economically depressed but proud town finding hope in a gifted teacher and the magic of theater. 

Paperback, 356 Pages, Published 2013

Author: Michael Sokolove


“Poignant...Captivating...[Sokolove] shines a heartening light on how one of those passionate heroes devoted himself... to educating, rather than training, young people.” — The New York Times Book Review

“Sokolove's reporting tells an incredible tale about a brilliant, demanding and subversive teacher who practices the best kind of magic - the kind that's real and that changes lives. Drama High is both provocative and heart-warming... an excellent book for teachers or anyone interested in education and the power of theater. A gutsy high school English teacher might even recommend it to his or her students. ”—USA Today

“Required reading: for young people who can learn more about the challenge and rewards of theatre, for parents who may well need the same background, for anyone who doubts the value of theatre as an educational and character-building activity not only for those who would become professionals, for those who want to spark reveries of their own experiences in high school drama....Imagine if all of ''Glee'' sustained the level of quality and heart that characterized the story lines between Kurt and his dad, and you'll get a closer approximation of what Drama High achieves.” — The Huffington Post


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