Student Honored with First-ever Dramatist Award

Rachel Tropp ’16
EE Entertainment Editor

Larissa Mark, president of the THeSpian’s club, received the DLDF Defender Award from the Dramatists Guild for her efforts to bring RENT: School Edition to the THS stage. All of her well spoken efforts paid off, from news interviews to petitions to Board of Education meetings. Mark was also the creator of the facebook group, “Trumbull For RENT”, that received over 7,600 likes. To honor her commitment and poise, the Dramatist’s Guild, a prestigious organization, created this special new award just for Mark.

Mark was shocked when she found out. “At first, I didn’t realize it’d never been given. And I was scrolling through my email at 12:30 and I screamed. I was so honored. When I found out I was the first one, I was in disbelief. I couldn’t believe that what we had done in Trumbull had reached so far.”

The ceremony was held February 24th in New York. Mark said, ‘“It felt like a dream. I couldn’t believe I was actually there, and in the room with so many amazing people who had done such amazing things…When you’re standing next to Stephen Schwartz and he’s saying how he loves what you did, you don’t know what to say. One of my favorite parts was this guy John Guare, who was receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was at the same table as me, and whenever anybody got up, he’d try to tell me what they did, but it was stuff I already knew, so Bobby and Kristen Lopez went up, and they were introducing someone, and he just reaches over the table and goes, “They wrote Frozen! Do you know Frozen?” He was so cute.”’

Of course, many students were involved in bringing RENT to life on the THS stage. Yet few could claim the complete dedication and passion Mark exemplified, or the amount of work and time. She said the ceremony heightened the whole experience. “It gave me so much more of an appreciation for theater. Seeing these people who have truly dedicated their lives to making scripts and making something that has meaning to them… it gives you a greater appreciation for the writers themselves.”

When asked who she found most inspiring, she said, “I love John Guare because in his speech he talked about how he has been a writer since the age of eleven, and he really pursued his passion which is what I think everyone really wants to do, something that they love.”

The prestigious attendees included Terrence McNally (Ragtime), who went to Columbia, where Mark is headed in the fall; Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Children of Eden, Pippin, Prince of Egypt, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas); and Bobby and Kristen Lopez (Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, Frozen), who are now friends with Mark on Facebook.
Congratulations, Larissa!

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