Marjory Stoneman Douglas Teacher Honored At Tony Awards As Students Perform Melody Herzfeld, a drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., received the Excellence in Theater Education Award at the Tony Awards Sunday. She sheltered 65 students in a closet in her classroom during the deadly shooting in February.
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Marjory Stoneman Douglas Teacher Honored At Tony Awards As Students Perform

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas Teacher Honored At Tony Awards As Students Perform

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Teacher Honored At Tony Awards As Students Perform

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Teacher Honored At Tony Awards As Students Perform

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/618975598/618975599" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Melody Herzfeld, a drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., received the Excellence in Theater Education Award at the Tony Awards Sunday. She sheltered 65 students in a closet in her classroom during the deadly shooting in February.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The Tony Awards on CBS last night had performances from some of the biggest new musicals on Broadway - "Mean Girls," "Frozen," "The Band's Visit." Then there was a song from a Broadway classic sung by high schoolers that stole the show.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The surprise moment began with Matthew Morrison. He was talking about performing with other Broadway stars at a benefit concert after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

(SOUNDBITE OF 72ND TONY AWARDS)

MATTHEW MORRISON: For us, it was a life-changing experience to see these inspiring young people channeling their intense feelings of hurt and rage and sorrow into art.

SHAPIRO: Morrison explained that afterwards, one of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reached out to organizers of the Tony Awards. The student, Tanzil Philip, wanted to appear on the Tonys to thank the Broadway community. But instead of a speech, this happened.

(SOUNDBITE OF 72ND TONY AWARDS)

MORRISON: Please join me in showing your love for the members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School drama department.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

CORNISH: The curtain went up. Audience members rose to their feet, and 16 survivors of the shooting stood onstage behind microphones, the boys in ties, the girls in fancy dresses.

(SOUNDBITE OF 72ND TONY AWARDS)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. Five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred minutes - how do you measure, measure a year? How about love?

SHAPIRO: Their teacher Melody Herzfeld watched from the audience. Earlier in the evening, she received the excellence in theater education award. On the day of the shooting, Herzfeld protected 65 students in her office and stayed with them for hours.

(SOUNDBITE OF 72ND TONY AWARDS)

MELODY HERZFELD: I remember on February 7 sharing a circle with my beloved students and encouraging them to be good to each other when times were trying and to keep the family together. Accept everyone, and make a difference. And I remember only a week later on February 14, a perfect day, where all these lessons in my life and in their short lives would be called upon set into action.

CORNISH: That's Melody Herzfeld, drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., speaking at last night's Tony Awards.

(SOUNDBITE OF 72ND TONY AWARDS)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) Measure, measure your life in love.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Seasons of love...

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

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