Early childhood through grade 12

Hawthorne Valley Association

This fall, the School has had the pleasure of inviting Dr. Lawrence Glatt, a former music teacher here, back to lead the first After School Drama Club’s staged musical production, Miranda’s Quill, co-written by Dr. Glatt and his son, HVS alumni Benjamin Glatt (Class of 2010). The play is set in the world of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and includes live music by the student pit band, Miranda’s Quillharmonic.

We caught up with them both to find out about their journeys since their time at HVS, and what inspired them to co-write a musical.

After Ben graduated from high school, he went on to get his Bachelor of Arts in Education and History at Marlborough College before getting his Master’s in teaching as well. He traveled around for a few years, spending time in Alaska, walking from Florida to North Carolina, and serving as the humanities department chair at the Majestic International College in China for two years. He came back to North America, and settled in Toronto where he works as a middle school teacher at the Waldorf Academy.

Over the years, Ben has also developed his craft as a writer, saying, “I love creating interesting worlds and exploring unique was of seeing and feeling and experiencing the world. I love taking a theme or idea and finding a way to convey it in a way that resonates and connects to make people see things in a new way.”

While Ben has primarily crafted science fiction and fantasy (you can check out some of his work here), in the last few years, he’s had the opportunity to delve into the world of musicals with his father.

Dr. Glatt taught at HVS for 13 years before leaving in 2017. He and his wife moved to Calgary, Canada, where he taught for a few years before retiring to work on composing. He’d written songs over the years and collaborated on a project called “Life the Musical, not the Cereal” in the 1990s, but wanted to devote more time to the craft, with a focus on musicals.

“I’ve always loved musicals and have gone to a lot of them,” Dr. Glatt says. “I’ve felt like I should write them myself and got to the point where I said, ‘If not now, when?’ I love telling a story and having it be part of something bigger, and find inspiration in knowing the story and what’s going to happen and finding a way to put it to music.”

When Covid hit in 2020, both he and Ben found themselves with time to focus on creative projected. Dr. Glatt started working on the concept of Miranda’s Quill with his friend, Dawne McFarlane. He knew he wanted to shift the focus from Prospero, and began talking with Ben about it.

“He had such great ideas, such a fertile imagination about it, so we continued to work on it together,” Dr. Glatt says.

Ben wrote the script and lyrics, which Dr. Glatt then set to music. The result of their creativity was a play written specifically for middle school kids.

“We were looking to tell a story that resonated and connected with the sort of experience they have,” Ben says. “The story is about this moment where you discover that the adult world doesn’t necessarily have everything figured out, and you have to start telling your own story.”

Dr. Glatt adds, “The play was written by a Waldorf teacher and a lifer, so while it wasn’t written to be a Waldorf play, it definitely addresses themes of child development in it.”

That version of the play was performed by the middle school students at the Waldorf Academy. After he was invited to bring the play to HVS, Dr. Glatt and Ben worked on expanding the play for high school as well.

“It’s been really great being back at HVS,” Dr. Glatt says. “The Drama Club is made up of really talented kids with great attitudes and enthusiasm.”

Ben says it’s been a great process working on musicals with his father. “We both have our areas of strength,” he says. “Mine is putting a story together with a cohesive theme and his is bringing together the story and ideas and making it beautiful with music.”

He’s looking forward to seeing the production at HVS this weekend, and hopes someday it will be performed at schools across the country.

Miranda’s Quill is directed by Grade 6 Class teacher Kevin Kilb and features 28 students in Grades 6-12. Two public performances will be offered tonight, November 17 at 5pm, and tomorrow, November 18 at 7pm in the School Assembly Hall. Tickets are $15/adult for those who are able.

Dr. Glatt and Ben have a few other musical projects in the pipeline, including a collaboration with HVS alums Jonathan Byron-Wooden (Class of 2010) and Ezra Glatt (Class of 2013). We thank them both for sharing Miranda’s Quill with us, and look forward to their next production!