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Our Town

I was sitting out on my screen porch reading and listening to a chorus of crickets in the yard just now, when Julie came in. She’d been down the street at the Market Hall with Matthew, who is at the first read-through of Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker,” the play on which the musical “Hello, Dolly!” was based. Matthew won a small role as Rudolf, a French waiter, in the upcoming St. Francisville Transitory Theater production. Julie wanted to be with him tonight for the first reading.

“You can’t imagine how great all this is,” she said to me. “It’s the most amazing thing. These guys running the theater really know what they’re doing. And here’s the thing: they get Matthew. They really get him. These are his people. It’s like the Louisiana School experience was for you. Matthew’s really good at it, too.”

The SFTT is an initiative of some local kids who got really interested in theater, and decided to put on some shows. Some of them went on to college to study theater. They’re back this summer doing some shows. As Julie put it, and I agree, “They’re really, really good, not ‘good-for-you’ good.”

She said just now, “This wouldn’t have been available to Matthew in Philadelphia. I looked into theater he might do. All I could find was rinky-dink kids’ theater. This is the real thing. He’s studying with people who know what they’re doing. I can’t believe this is happening right here, in this little town.”

“Aren’t you glad we donated some money to them to support their season?” I said.

“Oh my God, yes,” Julie said. “I get teary just thinking about it. What an incredible investment.”

Who would have thought it? Right here in our town. How grateful I am for this. You just never know what you can do in a small town, with the right people, and the right attitude…

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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