Walt Whitman High School hosted a performance of the new musical, “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom,” on Jan. 9.
Filled with traditional and original gospel and freedom songs, the show tells the true story of Lynda Blackmon Lowey and is based on Lowey’s award-winning memoir, “Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March.”
Lowey was the youngest person to walk all the way from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during the Voting Rights March in 1965. This inspiring true story illustrates the strength and courage of the individuals who fought alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to secure the right for African Americans to vote.
With Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaching and Black History Month just a few weeks away, the event came at the perfect time. As one student said, “Since I am 17 and in two weeks will be turning 18, it really made me think about registering to vote and the importance behind it.”
Another student commented, “It’s great to hear about what young people did in the past to help get us where we are today … in history class, you only learn about the adults who did great and important things.” The students were enthralled during the performance, gaining new insights and even participating during the gospel music, clapping and singing along to the wonderful, moving songs.
At the end of the performance, the cast stayed to answer questions. Actor Ally Sheedy (“The Breakfast Club,” “High Art,” “Psych”), who adapted the book for the stage, was there to meet the students, as well as director Fracaswell Hyman and producers Miranda Barry and Amy Sprecher.
“Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom” was truly an uplifting performance the students of Walt Whitman High School will remember for a long time.
Photos from Thomas Ciravolo/South Huntington Union Free School District