Actors and Directors Express Excitement for Debut of Freshmen Musical

By: Caroline Casey ’15
Section Editor

This year’s freshmen musical, Godspell Jr., will be a one-night performance on Nov. 15.

Thirty freshmen are participating in this production along with three upperclassmen student directors and two official directors: Jessica Powell ’15, Jocelyn Anker ’15 and Erik Stefanowicz ’15, Music Director Marisa Green and Director Jay Jaski. The musical is a fall term class open to all freshmen.

“This is a great opportunity for people to get involved in theater. This is the beginning of the freshman making a home in the Peddie theater department,” Green said.

The students involved in the production have a wide range of talents and prior experience. For some this is their first time performing, while others, like John Haines ’17, have been involved in a lot of acting previously.

“I have done a lot of acting before this and I have a relatively small part, but it’s still a really fun play,” Haines said.

The students involved are able to make new friends and enjoy dancing, singing, and acting as a group.

My favorite part of the class is learning all the new dances and songs because it gets me excited for the actual show,” Britni Strobeck ’17 said. “Also, just being with all my friends because we all love acting and singing and we are able to goof around yet stay serious during the class.”

While the class is fun, it teaches students important aspects of theater.

“Students learn the fundamentals of performing on stage, and how to build a relationship with the audience,” Jaski said.

Green also added that the students “never get a break to come off stage, so they are always acting, always performing.”

In the classes, the cast of students complete one song or scene a day. The next day they review everything that was done the day before. In the practices leading up to the actual performance, the class takes place in the William Mount-Burke Theater where students learn how to get comfortable with the new surroundings. Even as the opening of the production approaches, everyone remains calm and still enjoys the class.

“It’s a very laid back environment, but, when it’s needed, we are able to get serious,” Powell said.

Even though students may come into the class not liking a certain aspect of performing, they figure out how to work with all the aspects of it in order to put on a great show.

“My favorite part is the staging because while staging I get to do acting, dancing, and singing a lot. Don’t get me wrong – I hate dancing – but I still get a kick out of doing it,” Haines said.

Godspell has appeared twice before on the Peddie stage, but never as a freshmen musical. As a freshmen musical, there are more people involved in the production. This means that while there are only two main characters, every student still has a part and sometimes even a solo. Strobeck has a rap solo, while Haines has a solo and a monologue.

“I have improved a lot in this class because in previous plays I’ve been in, I never had to sing,” Strobeck said. “So being in the musical I actually learned how to use my voice in a musical production.”

Everyone agrees that it is the excitement that the students put into the show that makes it a great experience for both the students and the directors.

“The best part about leading this group is the honest enthusiasm they put into everything they do,” Powell said. “There is so much creative energy that it’s hard to have a bad day in class.”

Jaski agrees that the enthusiasm is what drives the class.

“There’s something in this age group that is pure enthusiasm. They try things and step outside of their comfort zone.”