SOLON, Ohio — At Solon High School, there are no cars in the parking lot, no classes inside. Things have changed, changed for J.R. Heckman, too. At this time last year, his voice filled the school’s auditorium and now that voice is reaching beyond that to you during this uncertain time.
He’s 19 years old and played the Beast during Solon High School’s musical production of "Beauty and the Beast" last year. Now, there’s a new beast. It’s called coronavirus.
“It’s definitely a challenge studying musical theater right now,” Heckman told us.
The award-winning performer now attends the Tisch School of the Arts right in the current US epicenter of this pandemic: New York City.
“We are working through it. We are giving hope, joy, and persistence and doing the best job that we can,” he said.
Heckman now takes online classes from his Solon home through New York University, home of Tisch.
“He’s always been a very resilient kid,” said teary-eyed, proud mother Lisa Heckman.
“He has gone to New York and given back. And he’s continued to do that through his life,” she said, wiping away a few tears.
You see, even with big obstacles come triumphs. J.R. has written a new song called “Reimagine” during this new time for all of us. “In the night, in the darkness…shines a brilliant light for all to see,” sang J.R. “That voice is you, standing true.”
“I really believe that we will come out better people,” said Lisa about the pandemic.
“Make the most out of the time with your family. Remain positive, joyful and be a light for others,” J.R. Heckman said.
“So, keep the faith. Don’t hesitate,” he sang. “Be the change you want the world to make and reimagine.”