Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Series puts spotlight on young heroes

Gregory Stieber

Whatzup Features Writer

Published March 2, 2022

As we reach our ninth year in the Linda Ruffalo Young Heroes of Conscience Series, I am filled with gratitude. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences as a theatre practitioner. 

Telling the stories and paying honor to the lives of Ryan White, Anne Frank, and Martin Luther King, Jr. (to name a few) has been simply inspiring and humbling.

Past themes of our productions addressed periods in history such as the AIDS crisis, Civil Rights Movement, and the Disability Act. With each subject, a young person of strength, integrity, and compassion was celebrated. 

This season finds us looking at the accomplishments of writer Louisa May Alcott. She was exceptional in the fact that she made strides for scores of female writers: an unheard of feat in the 19th century. 

To me, the great appeal of her story is her determinization to not only be a writer, but to take her passion and make it a worthy career.

The heart and soul of our plays in the series are the young people that make up our casts, crews, designers, assistants, and co-writers. It is so exciting to work with burgeoning talent with the notion that many of our participants have serious aspirations toward theatrical careers. Proof can be found in the college track records of some of previous Young Hero actors. Emma Poor (Mary Ingalls), Anthony Hayes (Ryan White), and Isabel Chilian (Anne Frank) are all in top-rated collegiate programs as theatre majors. 

It is Youtheatre’s badge of honor to know that these future practitioners (and many like them) began their theatrical journey with our organization. We applaud them and look to the next generation, found in this very production.

Our kids are our true heroes.

I like to think that Louisa would raise her head from her parchment, set aside her ink pen, and give them her gracious nod of approval.

Stieber dedicates his work on this production to Deb Mason Wedemeier, his sister.


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