LONGVIEW, Texas — Longview Independent School District is a place that continues to produce legends, from football superstar Travin Howard to famous authors and playwrights.
This weekend, the school district will look a little bit like Hollywood for its latest sold-out play production, "The New Teacher," written and created by playwright, actor and author Dedrick Weathersby.
Weathersby is a Longview native whose passion for musical theater started at an early age while attending Pine Wood Park Elementary. He says teachers noticed the wittiness and upbeat personality he portrayed in the classroom.
It later led him to star in his first theater production, "The Nutcracker."
"I rehearsed and I was like oh my goodness, this really feels good it feels like I'm at home," said Weathersby. "Then seeing the audience reaction I was like wow, they're really receptive to this and I wanted to do it more."
Weathersby did do more; as soon as he entered Forest Park Middle School, his passion for musical theater grew even more.
"That's when I was able to really hone in on the craft was in drama club so during and after school and going into completion is what made me dive into it more," said Weathersby. "I was like, I really like storytelling I really like transforming into someone that's not myself."
With his determination to be the best stage actor, playwright, author and show producer, Weathersby's journey led him to act on the national stage in productions such as "Dream Girls," when he played Curtis, the role originally played by Jamie Foxx.
He also wrote an original play paying homage to James Brown called "Remembering James: The Life and Music of James Brown," to his latest production "The New Teacher", which honors the teachers who helped him become who he is today.
"'The New Teacher' started as a book and it was basically giving my homage to teachers; teachers don't get a lot of credit and they have a lot of impact," said Weathersby. "It's a fun story for the whole family to look at the journey of kids running off teachers and trying to get them back in the eyes of a child."
This production is gives back to teachers and allows students to act. Weathersby has always had a long-term goal of giving back to his community once he became successful.
He hopes giving back to his hometown will inspire the next generation of musical actors, playwrights, producers, and authors to pursue their dreams.
"It was my agreement with God that says, 'hey, if you put me on this level if you put me on this pedestal, I will make sure I give back'," said Weathersby. "Here is the thing I've held up my end of the bargain and trust me, God has held his end."
Weathersby and Bramlette STEAM Academy will host a red carpet event on Saturday, Feb. 19, from 5-6:30 p.m., with the play to follow.