a special message from the director of
Upper Room of Erie, a homeless shelter

Erie Playhouse hosts homeless at dress rehearsals

Right around the corner from the Upper Room is one of the best community theatres in the country. I say this because it is one of the first to be allowed to do the newest shows.

So what does that have to do with a homeless shelter? Just that the Playhouse has offered to host groups of our guests at dress rehearsals when allowed by the copyright agreements. Tonight was our first night. We were about to see Les Miserables, one of the biggest shows ever on Broadway.

Seven of us settled in down front as the cast worked the last few wrinkles from a song and orchestra members tuned. Our people were fidgety…weren’t they ever going to start? Suddenly the lights went down and the orchestra began. For the next two and a half hours six homeless men and women were glued to their seats as the cast, orchestra, and crew made magic on the stage.

And my point? Simply that the problems that have made people homeless haven’t taken away their curiosity or their interest in the same things that the rest of us enjoy, be they football, art, music, politics, or in this case live theatre. They can still get lost in the story, costumes, music, and acting…despite their problems. It’s a lesson we staff at the Upper Room have to keep learning as we face increasing numbers of poor and homeless.

We are all more than our incomes, mental states, or raggedy clothes. We are all one.

Tom Schlaudecker
Sep 19, 2012

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