Let’s rename the Wildfire Theater


Few if any students at Shalhevet today have any memory of Nat Reynolds, z”l, who died last summer at the age of 86. But all of us are nevertheless benefiting from his work. In the process of interviewing those who knew Mr. Reynolds, it became clear to the Boiling Point that Shalhevet as we know it would not exist if it was not for him. After decades in education including his time as head of school at Westlake School for Girls — whose merger with Harvard he helped bring about — Mr. Reynolds was the person brought in by Shalhevet founder Jerry Friedman to pick the first General Studies faculty in 1993.

He also returned three more times to fill various positions, including interim head of school. But he had a particular influence in Drama. One anecdote from drama director Ms. Emily Chase encapsulates the impact Mr. Reynolds left on our school. She recalled that he showed her an old storage room filled with leftover supplies from when the old Shalhevet building was a hospital. Mr. Reynolds suggested they turn it into a theater — and they did, painted black, with lights, a stage and a backstage area for storing costumes. It was used to stage years of incredible plays and productions, bringing the drama department to the level of professionalism we take for granted today.

Shalhevet is recognizable in the Orthodox world for its extensive artistic departments, as well as its General Studies program which stands up to any general studies department in the city. Much of this can be credited to the leader who was so invested in literature, arts and ideas that he hosted a regular poetry seminar. According to his widow, former Shalhevet English teacher Ms. Laura Loebe Reynolds (see related story, Page 5), he did all this — and without taking a salary — because he loved the school. Considering what Mr. Reynolds did for our school, it seems only fitting that Shalhevet love him back. The Boiling Point Editorial Board believes that Shalhevet should rename the Wildfire Theater the Nat Reynolds Theater in his honor. Obviously, renaming something as critical to Shalhevet as the theater is a big deal — which is why we think it should happen. Nat Reynolds was not only an educational giant and an incredibly inspiring person, he also played an instrumental role in making Shalhevet and its drama department what it is today. After all, if not for Mr. Reynolds, there might be no theater at all.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the members of the Editorial Board, which consists of the Editor-in-Chief,  Web Editor-in-Chief, Community Editor, Director of Production and Design, Managing Editor and Faculty Advisor. We welcome submissions for signed editorials from members of the Shalhevet Community, and the final decision about printing them is made by the Editorial Board. Submissions should be emailed to [email protected].


Click here to read other BP unsigned editorials.