My daughter just finished two weekends of performances as one of the townspeople in her high school's production of Beauty and the Beast. The show was a rousing success onstage and played to big audiences.
It was also a rousing success for Eliza. She is a teenager with Down syndrome. This is her fourth high school musical, so she is a veteran of the rehearsal room, the make-up table, the dressing room, and the stage. She and the other special-needs kids in the show had peer buddies, who helped them participate in the show so much more than the teaching assistants assigned to supervise them in the winter musical last year.
Eliza's peer buddy, Audrey, is an animated young woman onstage, and she kept Eliza focused and made her look great, even when she was right in the middle of the action. Eliza did so much more than she has ever done in a show before, and she truly belonged to the Beauty and the Beast community. Which is as it should be for a show whose message is something about it being okay to be different and about finding beauty and tenderness in unexpected places.
I know there is beauty in my daughter. In Beauty and the Beast, lots and lots of other people got to see it too. Brava!