Pennsylvania School Teacher Is Inaugural Recipient of MTI Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre Education
05 Mar 2013
Theatrical rights licensing company Music Theatre International will present the inaugural MTI Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre Education to Pennsylvania high school teacher Lou Volpe.
Volpe, who began as a 21-year-old English teacher in 1969 at Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown, PA, later transitioned to become the school's drama teacher – staging over 43 productions in his 40 years of teaching.
He will be presented with the honor on March 9 by MTI's Senior Operations Officer, John Prignano, prior to the Truman High production of Godspell. The Stephen Schwartz-John-Michael Tebelak biblical musical marks Volpe's final production at the school.
According to MTI, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre Education "honors individuals for their exceptional commitment to promoting the legacy of musical theatre by nurturing the next generation of performing artists and audience members."
"Lou's contribution to theatre education is incomparable," Prignano said in a statement. "He has been an innovative force in the theatre world, and has been a pioneer by being the first to stage high school versions of Les Misérables and Rent. Lou was also the first to produce an edited version of Spring Awakening for a high school. He is a true innovator and has made Truman High's theatre program one of the most respected in the nation."
He continued, "He always challenged his performers and audiences to embrace all types of material, regardless of subject matter. Whether presenting classic works like Guys and Dolls and West Side Story or modern offerings like Parade or Spring Awakening, Lou found the essence of each show and made them relevant to his community."
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.