April 21, 2010 > Beloved "H" Bids Farewell
Beloved "H" Bids Farewell
By Emma Victoria G. Blanco
It was a cold winter's day in the Dairy State (Janesville, Wisconsin) when Steven Harrington was born, January 31, 1953. His family moved to Denver, Colorado where he grew up and attended elementary and middle school. A Little Leaguer who pitched on championship team when he was thirteen years old, Steven had loving and supportive parents and was such a happy-go-lucky kid that he was known as "Happy." It is fitting that this humble and adored teacher is lovingly referred to as "H" by his students and colleagues at Newark Memorial High School.
"H" has been a fervent educator for 33 years. "I have always been proud to tell someone when they've asked that I am a high school Drama teacher," he enthused. An instructor of acting, technical theatre, intro to the arts, and play production, "H" also directs and produces the school's plays and musicals. Completing his last year as an instructor at Newark Memorial High School, he is retiring to "live a longer, freer, less stressful existence."
Retirement plans include moving to Colorado; fishing and hiking in the Rockies, sleeping like a baby and joining a church choir. He also intends to "count my blessings, get closer to God, grow vegetables by the barrel-full, sleep some more, forget what day of the week it is, love my wife, write another screenplay, sell our first original screenplay, get fit, pray more, do tai-chi, and [more] good snoozin'."
Married in 1974, Harrington's wife, Marily, taught Drama for 18 years at Alvarado Middle School in Union City until 2001. For 25 years, she has made costumes for many "H" shows. Their three children: Marissa (32), Brandon (30), and Brittany (22), have all participated in high school, college and community level theatre.
All "H" ever wanted was to be "the good dad, the good husband, the good high school Drama teacher," a sentiment emulated by his son, also an accomplished and talented individual. Brandon Harrington also teaches at Newark Memorial High School where he graduated in 1998 and met his wife of seven years, Lauren. The self-professed fan of the Denver Broncos, Jim Carrey and Michael Jackson is also an actor and director. He owns a DJ company and has recently completed filming "The Boo Show," a one-man kid's TV show that he created and stars in.
When asked about his dad, Brandon proudly exclaimed, "He has always been my hero." On dress-up days at school, while others would dress up as a superhero, Brandon dressed up as his dad. "He has taught me how to be a great husband, a great person, a great communicator. He's fair, he's fun and everyone wants to be around him. Once you meet him, he makes an impact on you for a lifetime."
He added that "I would not be the man I am today without the lessons I learned [from my dad] on the stage. My dad's legacy is that he has created magic on the stage for countless students, transcending High School Theater. His shows are very personal and always have deeper meaning. His concepts are innovative and he never takes short cuts. He's bold with his choices so that his casts and his audiences are heavily impacted. H knows how to relate to his students. They genuinely respect him and love being around his contagious spirit."
The Tony-award winning musical, Les Miserables, scheduled to play at the Newark Memorial Theatre from April 23 through May 2, will be Steve Harrington's last show before retiring. It was a toss-up between his two favorite shows: Les Miserables and Godspell. Les Miserables won - he considers it to be the best musical of all time.
The elder Harrington, who doesn't like ice cream and whose favorite movie is The Color Purple, said that he will miss the vibrancy and energy of the great American teenager. He leaves this message to his students: "To all of those teenagers whose lives we as teachers are lucky enough to 'touch,' even for a moment, thank you for sharing your fleeting youth with me and with other wonderful drama teachers. And to my dedicated theatre-lovin' family, thanks for all the laughter, the tears, the "magic."
Those who want to see one of Tri-Cities' well-respected, talented, charismatic, captivating, and visionary citizens direct his last show can find more information online at nmhs.schoolloop.com/lesmiserables. All will surely miss his passion and dedication to the school, the arts and his students.
Steven Harrington sums it up best, "I have been blessed by the Spirit in the Sky."
April 23 through May 8
Newark Memorial Theatre
39375 Cedar Blvd., Newark
$10.00 pre-sale /or $13.00 at the door