This story truly begins the summer I graduated high school, now a distant two years away. During my senior year musical, The Wizard of Oz, our 'theatre family' befriended a young and talented freshman actor. My loving theatre family's warm embrace allowed this individual to express his true self, including his sexuality.
Immediately he was ripped away from our high school, from associating with anyone within the theatre program, into total isolation.
He was alone in the universe.
Later, during the height of the summer, my friend received a phone call while we were on a late-night Walmart run. On the other end of the line was our dear friend, sweet and chipper as usual, asking for us to visit him.
|BSHS Wizard of Oz Final Scene|
Later that evening we drove to a local church we often visited in the dead of night, to play the piano, and sing hymns or show-tunes. An escape from the world. Exploring the inner membranes of our ancestor's church. A lost youth seeking divine refuge from earthly suffocation.
But there wasn't any exploring to be done that evening. Or much singing. Only the soft tune of my friend playing "Alone in the Universe" from Seussical on the organ while another thrice-played Horton sang along.
Those lyrics are a testament to what LGBT youth withstand every day. In a world choking with depression, isolation, and bullying, those lyrics are bigger than a hypothetical elephant and some 7th grader.
And it makes me so proud that I have the honor to lead an organization dedicated to suicide and depression awareness, specifically in LGBT youth. Our Gender-Bender Cabaret sheds light on the disturbing realities of these at-risk youth and charges our audience members to be more educated and vocal about this issue.
That summer evening, two years ago, was the last time I saw my friend. Shards of scattered information seem to tell of a changed person, devout in his faith and groomed in his morals. Sounds like that evening was the last time anyone saw him.
So at one month, 500+ views, a handful of posts, and a season ahead of us, this is the story behind Seussical!
It's a handful of close friends, a generation lost in status, and a story about hope. Hope that it's only going to get better from here. Hope that the next generation is better educated that the former. And hope that our story teaches everyone that you're never truly alone in the universe.
Alone in the Universe YouTube