This open letter is to Ms. Swift in an effort to get her permission to use a couple of her songs for a student production of Romeo and Juliet.
Dear Ms. Swift,
My name is Nicholas Provenzano and I am a high school English teacher at Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI. I started a big project this year with my Freshman English class. They are producing an updated version of Romeo and Juliet with another high school in Van Meter, IA. The goal of the project is to have students dive into Romeo and Juliet by working on different parts of a production. The kids are very excited about the project and have been working very hard for the better part of a month. We are looking to premiere our finished film on April 30th just for the students and parents at both schools. We are not selling tickets or copies of the production, just showing the school the awesome project the kids completed. You can read more about the specifics on the project wiki.
One part of the project is creating the soundtrack to accompany the production. While reviewing the work the students had completed, I noticed that two of your songs appeared regularly on my students' play lists, "Love Story" and "You Belong With Me". When asked by the students to include them in the finished movie I told them I think these are wonderfully written songs that would be perfect for the story they have written, but they are not allowed to use the songs without the artist's permission. They were bummed, but are still working hard to create a great production. However, I'm not one to give up that easy and let my kids down.
This is where I hope you can help. I want to ask for your permission to use your two songs in the student's production of Romeo and Juliet. My kids have been working hard all year and this project is the culmination of months of dedication. I always tell kids that hard work pays off and you are rewarded in the end. I cannot think of anything more fitting that adding these songs to our project. It never hurts to ask and the best way I thought I could get a hold of you was to use my connection with teachers from all over the world to reach out to you in the hopes of a response. I would love to surprise my students and let them know they got permission. I know this is something they would remember for years to come and your approval would be the cherry on top of an already amazing cake.
My goal as a teacher is to try and inspire kids to become passionate about literature and express it in their writing. My students have shown an amazing dedication to this project and I could not be prouder of their effort. Please consider allowing them to use your songs in the production. If you want, I could possibly persuade the directors to give you a walk-on role as a thank you. :-)
Thanks for your time and hope all things are well where you are.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at Nicholas.Provenzano@gpschools.org, @TheNerdyTeacher, or my school Twitter account @MrProvenzano.
- Nicholas Provenzano
Grosse Pointe South English Teacher