Love is love and this will be our reply

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“We chase melodies that seem to find us,  Until they’re finished songs and start to play, When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised, not one day. This show is proof that history remembers, We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger; We rise and fall and light from dying embers Remembrances that hope and love last longer And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love Cannot be killed or swept aside. I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story, Now fill the world with music, love and pride.”

From Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sonnet accepting his Tony award for Best Score for ‘Hamilton’, and honouring those killed in Orlando, 12th June 2016.

49 people murdered, 53 injured in Pulse, a LGBT nightclub in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday morning. A terrorist attack on the gay community that has cut deep and reminded us that prejudice destroys and devastates. It’s times like these, when I don’t know what to say (and when supercalifragilisticexpialidocious just doesn’t work), that I feel the power of art, music and theatre even more strongly. We have a responsibility as artists, as teachers, as humans to drive out that hate. To all affected by the Orlando shooting, to the LGBT community, know that I, and so, so many more, stand with you. Together we show that love is stronger. James Corden summed it up pretty well at the 70th Annual Tony Awards earlier this week when he said: “Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved.” In the words of Oscar Hammerstein II (one of mine and Julie’s faves!): “You’ll never walk alone.” I mean it.

In ‘South Pacific’, Hammerstein wrote:

You’ve got to be taught To hate and fear, You’ve got to be taught from year to year, It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear, You’ve got to be carefully taught.

The words that Lt. Cable sings are as true today, as they were in 1949. We have a responsibility to teach love above hate. Freedom above fear.

When I am auditioning or teaching, I often say: “Don’t worry, It’s only singing, We’re not saving lives” … And, although this serves the purpose of stopping myself or my students from getting wound up with performance/audition/exam nerves… Maybe it is dismissive. Art speaks when we don’t know what to say. Music, theatre, dance, film, art is expression. It calls out injustice. It speaks of pain, pleasure, sadness, joy, the dark and the light. Art is important. Art is love and love is for all. Love is love.

Leonard Bernstein once said: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” I’m with you Lenny, and I’m certain Julie is too.

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