‘Godspell’ promises to be family-friendly show

First Posted: 3/27/2014

When Dallas High School student Dylan Thomas auditioned for the drama club’s production of the musical “Godspell” earlier this year, he set his sights high.

“I did aim for (the part of) Jesus,” said the 17-year-old from Trucksville.

As luck and a lot of talent would have it, the first-year drama club member nabbed the part – his first role, starring or otherwise, ever.

“I sing in chorus but this is my first show,” Thomas said.

Dallas students will present “Godspell” in the high school auditorium April 11-13. Thomas said the first act of the musical features parables from the Bible and the second act ties them together leading up to the Last Supper and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Assistant Director and Costumer Audrey Ide said the show ties in nicely with the Easter season, though she wants to ensure the public the show doesn’t focus on religion.

“When you are at a public school, you have to walk a fine line,” she said. “It’s a family-friendly show.”

Thomas said the biblical parables depicted in the musical, which takes place in the 1960s and is set on the rooftops of New York City, aren’t strict to the Bible, and they focus on how to be a better person.

“It’s about being together, creating a sense of community,” he said.

Sixteen-year-old Griffin Stone, who plays the part of Judas/John the Baptist, has a bit more experience than his onstage counterpart.

“I have been in nine shows,” he said. “Some have been (at Dallas High School), some have been at Take the Stage, and some have been at the Music Box Theater.”

He likes the part of John the Baptist/Judas because it’s a role of two extremes – one minute he’s jovial and energetic, the next he is playing the part of the more serious betrayer of Jesus.

“That’s like my personality,” said Stone, of Shavertown. “It was like typecast.”

Director Harry McKeown said this is the first musical Dallas High School has presented since the production of “Mame” in 2000.

“We wanted to do a show that would attract the kids, and the music of ‘Godspell’ is so upbeat,” said McKeown. “When they first heard the music, they were so excited.”

McKeown also said trying to coordinate a musical takes a bit more effort from the cast than a “straight show” or play.

“This show has a smaller cast,” he said. “For musicals, it’s hard to get everyone together – it can be a nightmare.”

He also said the school’s new facilities, such as an 80-foot stage and state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment, will help bring the show to life.

“We have the capability now to do it,” he said. “This show will be over and above what the public has seen before. We’re excited.”

And the grand finale of the musical, the crucifixion of Jesus, is one Ide hopes will stay in the audience’s memory long after the curtain call.

“We expect people to be in tears,” she said. “It’s a little bit different than the original ending.”

Stone is also excited for the last scene of the musical.

“It’s so tense and full of emotion,” he said. “It feels like you’re actually there. I feel like I really am my character.”

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