'Drama High': 7 stories from behind the scenes of a life-changing drama program

Here are seven stories from "Drama High," Michael Sokolove's book about the award-winning theatrical program at Harry S Truman High School.

2. Shaping up

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    The 2003 Broadway cast of 'Les Miserables' performs. Volpe's theater program was the first high school production to perform 'Les Mis' and was a test case for producer Cameron Mackintosh to see if a high school could mount the show effectively.
    Joan Marcus/Les Miserables/AP
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Many of Volpe's students say they feel Volpe and his drama program changed them for the better. Bobby Ryan, a student who was a frequent actor in Volpe's shows, remembered one rehearsal where the teacher made him leave because he was being too distracting. "I don't know who this new Bobby Ryan is, but I don't like him," Volpe told him. "If you find the old Bobby Ryan, tell him I miss him." Ryan says that he was so affected that he felt like he was going to throw up. He says he learned that "you can have fun and make jokes, but when it's time to be on task, you have to be on task. I realized I didn't like who I was being.... When you disappoint Volpe, it's like the worst thing in the world."

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