Melody Herzfeld, the drama teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who hid with 65 of her students during the horrific February 14 mass shooting and a week later guided them in a performance of the song “Shine” during a CNN Town Hall, will be honored by the Tony Awards for Excellence in Theatre Education.
Herzfeld will receive the award at the 72nd annual Tony Awards ceremony on Sunday, June 10, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. She will receive $10,000 for her theater program and tickets to the Tony Awards and Gala.
“During a normal given time I would say that I am truly humbled and grateful for this recognition for the work I have done,” Herzfeld said in a statement, “however the way that my students have taken to action through speech, performance and passionate honesty it now means so much more. My work is being reflected through my students, as it is every day with every arts teacher around the world.”
The award is presented by the Tonys and its higher education partner Carnegie Mellon University. A panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University and other leaders from the theatre industry selected Herzfeld from finalists across the nation.
“Melody is a true inspiration to her students and to all of us in the theatre community and beyond,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing. “Theatre is transformative – it has the power to celebrate the best of times, and it has the power to help heal us and comfort us in the worst of times. We are honored and humbled to present the Excellence in Theatre Education Award to Melody this year.”
Herzfeld is the Director of the school’s Drama Department, and has been teaching at MSD since 2003. One of her two sons, Richard, is a Special Education Teacher at the school.
The Excellence in Theatre Education Award recognizes a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession.
“Carnegie Mellon is delighted to recognize all that Melody has done to impact the lives of her students over the years and we offer our sincere congratulations to her on this honor,” said Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian.
The Tony Awards, hosted by Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban, will be broadcast live from Radio City on CBS Sunday, June 10.