Jonathan Bennett Shares Emotional National Theater Day Post

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday April 4, 2021
Originally published on March 29, 2021

To celebrate World Theater Day on Sunday, Jonathan Bennett shared an emotional post on social media describing how the stage was his safe space as a bullied teenager in high school. Not only that, but "The Christmas House" star said theater helped him flourish into the person he is today.

Bennett began, "Emotional post warning - To celebrate #worldtheaterday I give you a video of a 16 year old gay boy in Ohio. He has a pitchy voice, no rhythm, and can't dance to save his life.

He's awkward, his teeth are too big for his face, and he lives in fear every single day because he doesn't fit in with the rest of the boys in his class."

After sharing that "an asshole named Justin" would push him into a locker and kids would call him a faggot while he walked through the halls, Bennett said he "[cried] himself to sleep every night and develops stomach ulcers because of the stress and the homophobia in his small town. He thinks really dark thoughts and lives miserably in secret. But there is one place (and only one place)that gives him the tiniest bit of refuge.

"His high school theater."

Stepping into the theater provided him a sense of kinship — "he feels safe" and "he feels seen." In the theater, Bennett adds, he "isn't called a faggot and no one makes a mockery of him. He isn't ridiculed for being different, he's CELEBRATED." And when Bennett stepped on stage that first time, he felt "ALIVE. He is home."

From here, Bennett gives thanks for his fellow actors, crew members, and the audience for not just supporting theater but "you did so much more than that. You made a safe place for so many struggling little Jonathans out there."

Bennett then reaches out to those who might relate to his story, "know that you are not alone and that you are a star and you deserve to shine bright. And never stop singing and dancing, no matter how good you are because it's not about being perfect, it's about shining your light. And the world NEEDS your light."

In November, Bennett announced he is engaged to James Vaughan, host of the series "Celebrity Page."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.