Re the district:
"Cleveland doesn't put on musicals. Rainier Beach has for the past two years, a labor of love by a young English teacher doing her best with a budget of a few thousand dollars."
And then later in the article:
"That was one of the main reasons for building the theater in the first place, says Michelle Jacobsen, a Rainier Beach teacher who pushed for its construction. There's so much talent that goes untapped.
A decade after the theater opened, the building is there, but the programs aren't close to what was originally envisioned. The drama program at Rainier Beach just started up again two years ago after a hiatus. There is one band class, taught by Robinson, with about 18 students. A volunteer writes grants that support the band, dance and other arts programs.
"It's been painful," Jacobsen says.
Broadway Bound staff members say they peeled the shipping plastic off the theater's soundboard and found lights that looked as if they'd never been plugged in.
"It was like walking into something that's been cocooned," Nixon says.
Many hope this production represents a new beginning. Not only does Broadway Bound want to continue working in the South End, the school expects to receive an infusion of resources this year under the district's Southeast Initiative, some of which is earmarked for a music teacher and drama teacher.
Nixon knows what it's like to have lot of desire and not much money.
In Jersey City, where he grew up, he lived in a four-bedroom house shared by 15 people. Until he was 13, he figured he'd be a P.E. teacher. Then his priest took him to see the musical "1776," and all that changed.
"A program like this," he says, "would have meant the world to me.""Jimmy Nixon is the founded and director of Broadway Bound.
It is very sad that the district doesn't have the vision or the money to help these programs succeed in schools that don't have the parent base to support them. This is where a good public-private partnership could really help.