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Kathy Hunstad, Published November 24 2010

Moorhead High’s production of ‘Tommy’ engages audience

Bullying, child abuse and traumatic events have existed for years in the lives of youth and families. Current public access to information and media reporting has brought these issues out of the closet, challenging us to not only face them but engage intentionally in striving to respond in helpful ways and, most importantly, to work toward prevention.

How can we set every youth up to succeed so they are empowered to set others up to succeed? The world for boys and girls is distorted when strength is only recognized if they are macho and tough, can stand up for themselves, and know how to fight back. When life is closing in, many youth turn to negative choices, looking for answers in empty places.

As a youth ministry professional serving more than 22 years in this community, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of listening and talking to our youth about difficult life issues, especially their sense of self-esteem, how they relate to and treat others. We need to purposefully work to change the behavior of those who bully or take advantage of youth.

This weekend Moorhead High School is performing “Tommy,” a musical that speaks volumes to just such issues. It is shows like “Tommy” that give us so much to talk about. The main character, Tommy, as a young boy experiences cruel traumas that cause him to shut the world out and turn inward. Dramatic scenes remind us that we have the power to influence and affect others positively or in devastating ways.

Moorhead High’s “Tommy” not only entertains us with superb singing and dancing but teaches us that even the darkest experiences of life can be overcome. Love can break through the darkness, bring healing and teach us to forgive.

As a parent of three, who, since 1999, have benefited from the profound experiences of theater at Moorhead High School, I am deeply grateful to Rebecca Meyer-Larson and theater staff for once again pushing the envelope to produce a show with a pertinent and challenging message.

Our hearts will break and our hearts will soar as this cast brings us through a story that invites us to consider passionate action that stops cruel behaviors and promotes the building up of others. “Tommy” performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.