A wig is often the sign of a life-change. But at Harry S. Truman High School here in Levittown, PA, wigs are often part of the life change.
Although from the outside this school looks like any other in middle-class America, inside is a very special program – a theater troupe that many of its students claim have changed their lives and which has drawn the attention of multimillionaire producers and Broadway executives.
The program was created by drama director Lou Volpe, who led it for 43 years, until his retirement in 2013. The group is often the first in the country to perform high-school adaptations of major Broadway hits under the guidance of Music Theater International, one of the world’s leading dramatic licensing agencies. During Volpe’s tenure, the group piloted productions such as Les Misérables, Rent, and Spring Awakening, in addition to presenting stellar performances of older works, such as Beauty and the Beast, Aida, Epic Proportions, Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, Equus, Found a Peanut, and Grease.
When students put on their wigs before one of these productions, many of them feel like they’re doing more than just putting on a costume. They’re becoming another person, building their self-confidence, and engaging in an expressive outlet they’ve never known before. This means of expression and confidence-building has been especially important to these students in light of their background. Unlike many theater troupes, which are filled with privileged kids from middle- and upper-class families, Levittown families are primarily blue-collar and middle-class workers in a community that was once centered around the declining coal industry.
Through theater, many of Truman High’s students have been given a boost into a better future. Former students have gone on to become Emmy-winning producers, newscasters, entertainment executives, and community theater founders. The story of this group of unlikely stars has also inspired a book written by a former student, called Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theater.
After Volpe’s retirement in 2013, his former student and assistant Tracy Krause took over the program, which continues to change lives through wigs, costumes, scripts, lights – and a LOT of hard work.
But such changes aren’t limited to Truman High. If you’re making a difference through theater or drama, our staff at Wig Elegance salutes you! We’re also here to encourage and assist through our broad selection of wigs suitable for stage productions.
Drop by our Levittown location or contact us to see how we can help.
Give us a call at (215) 945-4900.
Wig Elegance is proud to support Levittown and the surrounding communities of Langhorne, Yardley, Newtown, Richboro, Doylestown, Feasterville, Bristol, Bensalem, Philadelphia, Churchville, Pendell, Holland, Upper Southampton, Lower Southampton, and New Hope, PA.