The Jones College Theatre Department performed their annual spring musical, “Godspell” on April 30, May 1, and May 2. Students, faculty and the surrounding community witnessed the first performance of the Jones Theatre Department in two years.
The students worked on “Godspell” from February 1 until the night before their first performance. “Godspell” a musical based on The Gospel of St. Matthew, written by John-Michael Tebelak and composed by Stephen Shwartz, includes the audience in the various lessons that Jesus has to offer and the changes that his followers go through.
Sophomore Erin Biglane, who played the role of Anna Maria, was elated to play her character.
“I thoroughly enjoyed this role. Anna Maria is very kind hearted and optimistic, and I think playing this role helps me see the brighter side of everything,” said Biglane.
Biglane said that the cast was the perfect size.
“The thing I liked most about the musical was that it was a smaller cast. I love doing big productions, but I think in a smaller cast it’s a challenge and you really have to stay accountable with your part,” she said.
The cast consisted of eight freshman and sophomore students. The freshmen were Conner Smith – Judas/John the Baptist; Jalen Poindexter – Telly; and Kambri Pippin – Uzo. Sophomores were
Erin Biglane – Anna Maria; Peyton Griffin – Jesus; Kyra Lampley – Morgan; Peyton King – Lindsay; and Isaiah Smith – George.
Jones alumnus, AJ Robinson, served as assistant director and rehearsal accompanist. Ballet instructor Paige Perkins was the choreographer. Two students from the Music Industry program, Chris Duncan and Justin Moss, ran the sound for the show, and Patrick Trest was the lighting operator. Other Jones faculty and staff that assisted included Bruce Smith, Paula Harrison, Josh Ishee, Gregory Wascoe, and Dr. Mike Boyd. Stage managers were Breana Walker and Payton Voge.
Sophomore Peyton Griffin, who played the role of Jesus, said he enjoyed playing his role. “This part was so awesome to play because it really challenged me in great ways,” Griffin said. “My favorite part of the musical was the people! This cast was so much fun to work with.”
The performers had varying ideas about the message of the musical. “I think the message was about different people with different ideas coming together to make a unified community,” said Biglane, while Griffin said, “The message of this show is unity and love! Coming together and loving you for who you are.”
Theatre instructor Jennifer Bruton served as director, producer and musical director. She said she chose “Godspell” because of what she remembered from the show from her childhood.
“The small cast and wonderful message of belonging I felt were particularly apropos for our time,” said Bruton. “Because so many students were not back on campus with us this year, I knew casting a large show would prove difficult, not to mention trying to social distance during rehearsals. It turned out this was the perfect show, at the perfect time, with the perfect cast!”
Due to the pandemic, the show was offered both in person and through live stream.
“We also had a first in that we were able to secure the rights to live stream the show, and we had audience members tune in to watch from Florida, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and even Japan,” said Bruton.
Biglane and Griffin both think that those considering theatre should give it a try.
“Theatre gives you so many experiences that will last you a lifetime,” said Griffin.
Biglane said, “I would absolutely encourage anyone to try theatre whether you’re a veteran to the stage or not. Theatre is a place of wonder that gives me the comfort to be my truest self, and I would and will keep recommending it to anyone that comes my way.”
by Kyra Lampley