I was with the national tour of “Les Miserables” and we were performing in Salt Lake City. At the time, we were doing the poster sales for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS. If someone donated $50, they would receive a poster signed by the entire cast.
After one performance, I was in costume selling posters in the lobby. I noticed a little girl who was looking at me like I was the Messiah. I heard her say, “Please, Mom, please, please, can I have a poster? Please, oh, please, please, please?” Her mom said no, and they walked away. It was a moment I will never forget. In my left ear, quite distinctly, I heard a little whisper. It said, “Go, Doug, go.”
Suddenly, without giving it any more thought, I took off in full costume outside the theater. After walking through the crowds, I saw the girl and her mother down the block. They had already crossed the street. As I was running down the street in my “Les Miserables” costume, I thought that I was so busted. But I didn’t really care.
As I approached the girl, I said, “Excuse me.” She turned around, and just stared.
“You forgot your poster.” I handed her a poster, and I was gone.
I turned around and ran back to the theater before anyone could say anything. I went to the company manager’s office and I said, “I gave one of the posters away. Here is fifty dollars, my contribution to Broadway Cares.”
A few days later, there was a letter that showed up on the callboard. It read: “Dear cast of “Les Miserables”, you moved me so much. Thank you. I also want to thank you for giving my daughter the poster. I don’t know who you were, but it was a nice young man, and he was gone before anyone could say thank you. Let me tell you a little about my daughter. She is sick. She was not expected to live past a very young age. She always wanted to see “Les Miserables”. They even snuck her out of the hospital that night so she could see the show. The tickets were a gift from a family friend. I am a single mom. Money is very tight. It broke my heart to not be able to buy the poster for my daughter. Thank you so much, whoever you are. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The whole cast was standing around weeping. I didn’t say a word.
Four years later, the night before “The Scarlet Pimpernel” closed, I remember being bitter and jaded. Soon, I would be unemployed again. Out of nowhere, at the stage door, I heard a little voice.
I thought, “Oh, God, who’s calling me ‘Mr. Storm’ for crying out loud?” I looked down. I froze. It was that same little girl.
“Hi. I knew you were in the show because I’ve been following it on the Internet. I brought you a little package. Here’s a card.”
“Oh, my gosh, how are you doing? Do you want to come in? Are you seeing the show tonight?”
“No,” she said. “I’m not seeing the show tonight. I’m seeing it tomorrow. I’m seeing the last one.”
I said, “Why don’t you come around tomorrow before the show? I’ll take you backstage.”
I went upstairs and started putting on my makeup. I stopped for a second to read her card. “I just want to let you know that I’ve just been accepted to NYU Tisch School of the Arts for Drama, and I’m going to enroll because someday I want to give a kid a poster. Thank you for helping shape my life.”
I lost it. In a moment of my own despair and selfish jaded bitterness, there was that kid. Everything came full circle. That alone is why I got into this business.”
– Doug Storm, in “Making It On Broadway”