Arts touches lives unlike anything else in a community, and is certainly alive and growing in Osceola County. From are very own Osceola Arts to the level of excellence that takes place everyday in the School District of Osceola County, it’s apparent that as Osceola County continues to grow and evolve, the arts will have an increasingly growing role.

An example of the powerfully positive impact arts can have on a community and on the individuals within it, is Donald Rupe.

Donald Rupe is a product of the Osceola Public School System. Growing up, Donald experienced terrible personal challenges, ultimately loosing his entire immediate family before reaching the age of 20. It was during this terribly challenging time that Donald found a home in the world of the arts. The arts became his compass, leading him to college and then back to Osceola County as the drama teacher at Gateway High School.

At Gateway he exhibited a strong and impacting commitment to his students and community never losing his belief in the power of the arts to change lives. He had experience in his own life how the arts can mold and shape and turn trial into passion.

Donald left the education profession when an opportunity arose to open a theater through Central Florida Community Arts. Working closely with Debbie Fahmie, former Director of Fine and Performing Arts in the School District of Osceola County, Donald wrote an original play that was eligible for funding from United Arts and the Dr. Phillips Foundation, and that was focused on providing Osceola County 8th graders a professional theatre arts enrichment performance.

It is now time to CELEBRATE because Donald Rupe’s original musical, Flying Lessons, has been chosen to be a part of The New York Musical Festival, the largest annual musical theater festival in America. “Flying Lessons” is one of only twelve plays selected from the hundreds of submissions received.

The amazing news we are privileged to share is that you we won’t have to travel to New York to experience Donald’s work… he is bringing it to Osceola County before it makes its way to The New York Musical Festival!

This one night only preview will take place at the Tohopekaliga High School Performing Arts Center located at 3675 Boggy Creek Road in Kissimmee on July 18th at 7:30 pm. Tickets are on Sale on the Osceola Arts website at Just click on “Flying Lessons” Preview. Tickets are only $15.00 for Regular Admission / $10.00 for Students.

The musical Flying Lessons is the story of a young Latina girl, Isabella, who needs to choose a historical figure and write a research paper about her or him. We discover that Isabella has a challenging home life, and she is seeking (along with her quirky friends) her place in this world.

That’s when Amelia Earhart and Frederick Douglass arrive in a dream sequence, and Isabella begins to create her own ‘recipe for greatness.’ Throughout the show she describes some of the qualities she thinks leads a person to greatness, and in an emotional moment at the end of the show she realizes that these qualities are not actually hard to come by; all one needs to do is to simply have the courage to be happy.

After Flying Lessons heads to New York it can be seen Off-Broadway at the New York Musical Festival (NYMF) from July 22 – 27, 2019 and is being produced through Osceola Arts.

For more information about Flying Lessons and the New York Musical Festival, visit

Over 300 performers have auditioned to be in Flying Lessons at the NYMF and the cast will be comprised of talent from Florida, New York, and beyond. We hope to see you at the Florida preview on July 18th!