Godspell: A Good Story

Natalie Ferry, Staff Writer

Heritage’s “Godspell” was a show filled with cheer and hope. A retelling of the New Testament, “Godspell” consisted of stories familiar to many. Ms. Lauren Peters, Costume Director, could not keep a smile off of her face as she spoke about the musical. “We were really excited to offer a second show this year because we have so much young talent. It was really fun to showcase those students and a smaller cast,” she said. “I just think it is a really beautiful show. There’s no fancy lights or costumes or tricks. It pushed the kids to do more of it themselves. It’s really about their performance, and I think they pulled it off.”

While the cast did indeed pull it off, the months leading up to the show were stressful. Nonetheless, the cast stayed optimistic as rehearsals started to come together. Three hours a day. Three days a week. Members of the production maintained a routine of school and rehearsal: it was all they knew for months. With a smaller cast, rehearsals were less stressful at first, but after some time they fell into a rhythm similar to the fall production of “Matilda” as blocking, music, and choreography started. To better understand the musical, the cast was asked to do some outside of practice work. “We really researched the parables and their songs,” said Ms. Grayson Parker, who took over director duties from Ms. Peters for this production. “So for Jesus and Judas, I wanted them to understand their relationships,” she explained. “I asked Jacob Trotter [who played Jesus] and Nathan Minton [Judas and John the Baptist] to do some research on them to see their relationship and how they impacted each other.” 

Once the week of the shows began, everyone’s nerves about the performance came to an end. Almost everyone was worried that it would not come together in time, or that they would somehow mess up their lines. Thankfully, by the end of the first (and only) tech day, many of the cast’s nerves were calmed. The show came together beautifully. “I was nervous for the first show and only the first show, because [we performed for] my grade,” started Claire Simpson, who played the character Georgia. “I wanted to perform well for my peers. I generally don’t struggle with nerves that bad, but they were people I know,” she said. “The night shows were really good, and I felt good about what we were putting on.” As show week went on, the cast started to really feel comfortable with the show. “I was worried about the show [at first], but eventually it came together in the end,” said the lead, Jacob Trotter. Many of the cast had expressed their worries of not getting the show “together” in time. Performing as Jesus was hard, and you could tell Jacob had been working non-stop for it.

Closing night came quickly, and all of the past few months’ hard work would then be done. “Closing nights are always weird,” Natalie Ferry (who played Morgan) explained. “By that point you’ve grown attached to the show, and tearing everything down afterwards is just this bittersweet process. Honestly, I was so tired from that week and all the adrenaline that I don’t remember half of what I was feeling that night,” she said with a smile. Ms. Parker and the audience could not have been more pleased with the show. “The overall audience reactions were pretty good. We were all a little skeptical at first of how people would interpret it; especially how the student audiences would respond to it,” Ms. Parker explained, “but, overall, everyone felt like it was really impressive and they enjoyed the story and visuals. I was really pleased with how everyone said it went.”

With “Godspell” over, the cast is already preparing for next year’s musicals, “Little Women” and “Freaky Friday.” Ms. Parker is very excited for the One Act production of “Freaky Friday” as they won’t have to cut parts out like they did with “Matilda.” “Little Women,” the spring show, starkly contrasts its counterpart for the theater season. being more of a traditional theater style compared to “Freaky Friday”’s rock style. Even with these very different shows, Ms. Parker cannot wait to see how the kids will do with them next year.