Drama students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, delivered a heartfelt performance of "Seasons of Love" from "Rent" at the Tony Awards on Sunday, nearly four months after a mass shooting at their school left 17 dead.
The performance, which drew tears and a standing ovation, came after the school's drama director, Melody Herzfeld, received the 2018 Excellence in Theatre Education Award. According to The Associated Press, Herzfeld "saved 65 lives by barricading students into a small classroom closet" during the Feb. 14 massacre.
"All the goodness and tragedy that has brought me to this point will always be embraced," she said.
Celebrities and other viewers took to social media to praise the students and Herzfeld.
Omg the Parkland Drama club just performed “Seasons of Love” on the #Tonys and I am all mucus. That was so powerful. Thank you #Emmys for including these extraordinary kids in the evening’s. Elie ration.— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) June 11, 2018
This Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Theatre Education stuff is too much for me, y'all. I'll just be in my corner quietly sobbing. #TonyAwards— Musical Theatre Mash (@MusicalMash) June 11, 2018
The Parkland drama teacher Melody Herzfeld just gave a speech accepting her honorary prize at the #TonyAwards pre-show and the entire room is shaking and moved— Steven Zeitchik (@ZeitchikWaPo) June 10, 2018