On Thursday, February 11, TW2B cast member Jamie Mann had the opportunity to showcase his triple threat skills for his peers and their families at Bedford Middle School's talent show—Bedford's Got Talent—in Westport, CT. As any boy dancer knows, especially a male ballet dancer, it takes guts to open the curtain on the dancing side of life to an audience of judgmental teenagers. Well, Jamie decided to be bold, to pave the way for the next boy who wants to dance and the next kid who feels self-conscious about having a passion that is "different." And when that curtain opened, the kids watching proved they are different too—different from middle school kids of decades ago, the ones who would have sneered and teased a boy who dared to plie on a school stage. When the curtain went up and a spotlight shone on Jamie as "Billy" with an original Broadway Billy bag on his shoulder (thanks superfan Joe Maguire!) and Billy attire all the way down to the ballet shoes on his feet, the crowd roared with approval. "We love you, Jamie!" they chanted, as he began to sing: "I can't really explain it. I haven't got the words..."
They were Billy's words, but easily could have been Jamie's—trying to find a way to describe his heart swelling as his classmates validated his talents. "Go Jamie," they cheered as he leapt and spun across the stage. The roar of applause at the end, after his series of a la seconde turns, was deafening. The sound traveled across social media for days to come.
Jamie has performed "Electricity" as Billy at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, alongside Broadway actors. No question, the experience was electric. But that evening, when Jamie danced for his classmates and their families, was also electric for everyone in the room. Especially for a kid who thought that kind of acceptance only came from a touchdown or a goal.