SPHS Theatre Director is in The Spotlight

And the award goes to…Jason Zembuch-Young! The South Plantation High School (SPHS) Theatre Teacher and Director was the recipient of an Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the 2019 Tony Awards held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The well-loved director was one of twenty-five to have an honorable mention at the 73rd annual signature event which recognizes achievement in Broadway productions.

Zembuch-Young has been at SPHS for over sixteen years where he began the “Theatre for the Deaf” program. Since its creation, he has produced every show using both voice and American Sign Language. The conception came because of the unavailability of interpreters to come to the theatre in the evenings when rehearsals took place. 

“From where it started as an experiment with my hearing actors, it has evolved into really truly being able to embrace a culture and incorporate a deaf culture into the production that we actually have as well as making theatre accessible to all audiences,” explained Zembuch-Young.

The dedicated teacher worked within the system to change it and now interpreters are available for day and night as well as all extracurricular activities, not just the theatre program. The program is much more than just a show with sign language, it’s assuring that the deaf community is well represented.

“Jason has inspired and motivated so many young people to find their voices through art. He is an
amazing individual who my son was lucky to have.
He teaches the value of perseverance, dedication, and being meticulous to their craft. In terms of a life lesson, the work ethic is necessary for a path to success no matter what they desire to achieve,” exclaimed SPHS parent Ben Moreno.

“I look at my kids as colleagues and I believe that we have a theatre company, that this is not just a bunch of kids putting on a play. We strive as much as we possibly can to produce professional theatre that happens to take place in a high school setting,” added Zembuch-Young.

Besides teaching and mentoring his students to be the best they can be, Zembuch-Young and his husband Michael have fostered over thirty-seven children. The duo and their bunch can always be found on the weekends at rehearsals where they interact with his other children (his students) and absorb the culture of the theatre. All foster families receive free admission to his shows since he believes that all children deserve the opportunity to experience the theatre no matter what their situation. The ambitious couple recently adopted a daughter and facilitated the adoption of one of his students by a colleague before she aged out of the foster system.