Making a difference

HARLINGEN — And the show must go on.

And on, and on, and on again.

When you’re dealing with the futures of budding actors, Christopher Esparza knows the show must never end. Where one draws to a close, another begins, and so it is at the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory where he just finished directing “In the Heights.”

“It was an amazing turnout,” said Esparza, 23.

“I received so much positive feedback from the community about the first Conservatory show and how it truly raised the bar as to what we can do here.”

This was not only the conservatory’s inaugural performance but Esparza’s debut as a director. He was originally a student of public relations at UTRGV, but Lee Ann Ince tapped him out to be a speech, drama and debate coach. One thing led to another and he found his true passion as a director.

“I have a passion for making a difference in kids’ lives,” he said. “I really enjoy making a difference in our community and making a difference in the futures of our kids.”

For Esparza, it’s been a pleasure seeing that spark of creativity evolve into something new and powerful.

“I enjoy seeing the impact I’ve had on so many of our kids,” he said. “I like seeing the light bulb and that link, that inch of hope that they have and being able to bring that out and see a complete difference.”

He’s enjoyed watching them start out as fledgling public speakers.

“I had them speaking in front of the class and in one year they became main stage actors, actresses and competitive public speakers in our speech debate world,” he said. “Seeing their progress in as little as a year, I realized this is what I was meant to do was to be here and make a difference.”

He looks forward to making a continuing difference as he helps prepare students for the upcoming production of “Beauty and the Beast,” which opens in January.