I remember many years ago an occasion that has always stuck with me, but I never really understood it until now. When I was playing in bands with my dad when I was in high school, I was the second (and sometimes third) best vocalist in the band. I was starting to come into my own, but I wasn't quite there. Then we played at a benefit concert and I felt like I had arrived. An old friend of my dad's told him, "you aren't the best singer in the band anymore." I didn't agree, and I still don't, but my dad said he did and he was happier to hear that than if his friend had told him he was still the best. I couldn't understand that. I thought he was just agreeing to make me feel good about myself. When Dermot walked on stage and began to sing his first lines: "Bring me prisoner 24601! Your time is up and your parole's begun!" I choked up and my eyes filled with tears, even at this unsentimental opening scene. This beautiful young man was Inspector Javert and he occupied the stage in a way I never could have. And I was bursting. I cried every time he took the stage that first night. (And a whole bunch of other times, because "Les Miserables.") I finally understood my dad's reaction. I was happier with his triumph than I ever was with one of my own.
So thank you to everyone who made it possible. Thank you to Theatrikos and Theatrikids. Thank you to the directors, Joe and Kennlyn. You brought Javert out of him.
Thank you to the cast for welcoming him and giving this young man so much happiness. You are his world right now and I couldn't pick a better group of people.
Thank you to his SMS friends in the cast. You will be his link to this show in the coming days.
Thank you to his onstage foils for making the show so wonderful. Thank you to those of you who have become close to him and made him one of your own. I am inspired by your kindness and love for my son.
Thank you to the members of the cast who are moving on and have finished your final Theatrikids show. Your contributions will live in the performances Dermot will undertake going forward.
Thank you to the cast of "Our Town" who first made him feel welcome at the Doris Harper White Playhouse. It is his new home away from home, as it is for so many of you.
I could not be more proud of my son tonight. I think all of us who were there were very lucky. The songs of the show speak of being selfless and helping others and focusing on each person's humanity. It was nice to be reminded of that through those songs, but it was even more powerful for me to see it in action in so many large and small ways. Again, I thank you.
Thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.