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Success Stories

Looking Back

Danny and RaeAnn
During the visit, Danny and RaeAnn were deep in conversation of all things Broadway, their favorite classical pieces and musical theater.
It’s been a little over 20 years since Danny returned to Bylas, a tribal community located in the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona.

Nevertheless, when we met with him, he spoke of his travels and life off the reservation. Danny is 65 years old. His dad was a fan of Dan Duryea, and gave his son that namesake. Duryea was an actor who played villains later in his career.

Danny lived and attended school in Southern California beginning when he was 14 years old. He spoke fondly of his senior high play, My Fair Lady, at Lincoln High School. He said, “The High School was HUGE! The city was too big — no privacy.”

Even those feelings didn’t keep him from graduating from UCLA with a Master’s degree in 2000 and also studying at two other southern California colleges at Long Beach and California State, Los Angeles. He was part of the theatre departments during his secondary and post-secondary education as a singer. His first show with a company was HAIR in Los Angeles. He loved Broadway, where he could be the “me that nobody knows.” He was what is known as a triple threat… singer, dancer and actor. He was with the theater company that produced HAIR for a year and a half.

"The food at the center is good,"
Danny said.
He agreed to pose in front of the Bylas Older Adult Center beside a young Lakota Sioux, RaeAnne, who was visiting. She is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, so they had a lot in common. During the visit, they were deep in conversation about all things Broadway, their favorite classical pieces, and musical theater.

Danny battled obesity the majority of his life, but more than 10 years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer and went through chemotherapy. He was part of a research project of 150 individuals; he was one of 130 who survived. Now the only health challenges Danny faces is high blood pressure —no hot dogs for him!

Danny was raised traditionally, but in a different sense than what one would usually imagine. His mother was Apache and his step-father was Japanese. Glad returning home after getting his education, Danny said, “Lots of things have progressed and many in the community are willing to work, but there are no jobs. I’m comfortable—I have my own place. The food (at the center) is good; the people are good. I appreciate them. They get up early to help us. We have everything here we need.”