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. By the author of The Last Temptation of Rick Pitino.
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?
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. Volpe’s students from this blue-collar town go 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.
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An excellent read. I graduated from that school district but the second high school, Delhaas. I did not have the privilege of knowing Lou Volpe. After reading this book, I felt he was a friend. He was a treasure to the district and to the world. Joan
A very intuitive book about a community and a dedicated teacher. For a subject that may on first blush be not of interest to the reading public, Sololove pulls you into the narrative starting on page one. His depth of understanding of his subjects is easily transferred to our own lives. It also underscores the multiple problems with our educational system, one of which is outside influences which try to hammer a square peg in a round hole, or to say one size fits all. In Drama High an unconventional teacher becomes a hero in developing young minds and in so doing someone transforms an entire community. What better story than that.