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Howard proudly stands holding Playbill of High School Theatre Festival program in front of historic Broadhurst Theatre

Howard’s Passion Comes to Life on Broadway

“I now feel I have the rest of my life to be me.”

At age 74, Howard feels he can fully express who he is—but that was not always the case throughout his life.

Howard is a member of the LGBTQ+ community and has struggled with expressing his identity in the past. He and his three siblings grew up in the Bronx of New York City. When their father passed away when Howard was only eight years old, their mother became the family’s sole provider.

Caring for four children was challenging, and his mother made just enough to make ends meet. Howard found little time to dream about the possibilities of the future. “All we knew was to go to school, get a job, and that’s it,” he explained.

When he went to college, Howard realized that he was gay, and he came out to a few close friends. “I didn’t hide it, but I didn’t discuss it,” he said. “I knew who I was, but there was never any reason to talk about it.”

Howard moved to California but lacked the self-confidence to explore his personal life, build new interests, or pursue a career in the arts. He found a “normal” job, worked hard, and kept his head down for 30 years.

“All my life, I was scared,” he said. “And I have never built a real life for myself.”

But like the protagonist of any good production, this introvert had a Second Act worth waiting for.

In his 50s, Howard discovered his passion for theater and began to push past his inhibitions and shyness. After retiring, he moved to Las Vegas, where he joined the Center Las Vegas, a group for older LGBTQ+ adults with a mission to empower all people to live authentic lives.

Here, Howard found the community he had been searching for all along. And with the support of new friends, his confidence continued to grow. He felt more comfortable in his own shoes—enough to begin acting, singing, and dancing on stage.

“When I got into the theater, I felt more comfortable with things…this is when I came out of my shell and could express myself fully for the first time,” he said.

Howard acted in his first play with a local theater troupe in 2014. And with a new passion to motivate him, he continued to grow as a person and an actor, finally getting cast in a leading role in 2018. Since then, his list of leading roles has grown, as has Howard’s confidence. And a dream to someday perform on Broadway also grew within him.

Howard’s story exemplifies how finding new passions and connections can help us flourish later in life. And Wish of a Lifetime knew just what to do to celebrate his journey and recognize Howard as the remarkable individual he is today.

In collaboration with the New York City Department of Education’s Arts Office and the Shubert Foundation, we helped make Howard’s dream of performing on Broadway a reality! Full of anticipation, Howard traveled to New York City to perform in the 9th annual Shubert High School Theatre Festival.

Howard bravely took the microphone in front of a packed house at the historic Broadhurst Theatre. He told his story of overcoming obstacles and persevering as an older adult and member of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I am honored to perform alongside such talented young people and to share my story with future generations,” he said.

And then, it was time for the main performance! Accompanied by a live band, Howard sang the song “To Life” from the iconic musical Fiddler on the Roof while dancing alongside 26 talented teen artists. Together, they brought the audience to its feet.

Reflecting on the experience, Howard shared that “No matter what happens in my life, I will only grow, and Wish of a Lifetime has added to that ability.”

“But after Broadway, I don’t know what else there can be…”

We have no doubts that there will be many more bright lights and standing ovations in Howard’s future.

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