It’s been a long time since I went to a high school musical. I forgot how much fun it is! Recently, I went with our church youth group to see “Godspell” at Mashpee High school. Taylor and Nathan, two incredible young people from our church, had lead roles in the show. I knew they were talented, but I did not know they were that talented. Nathan sang a wonderful solo and Taylor brought the house down with her vamp and singing of “Turn Back, O Man.” I said to both of them after the show, “You have to keep using your talent, because to whom much has been given, much is demanded. Using your God-given talent will make our world a better place!”
Like all high school productions, Mashpee High’s “Godspell” is not quite ready for Broadway. As one who once directed high school plays, I am keenly aware of how difficult it is to stage a show like “Godspell.” It’s a huge challenge for the cast, crew and musicians. For the Director, it takes time, energy and, most of all, PATIENCE. Why patience? Because the most important thing about the production of a high school show is to get as many kids involved as possible. This means that some members of the cast, no matter how many rehearsals, will never be quite ready for primetime. Not everybody has the God-given talent to grace a stage. That’s where patience has a major role to play. To some in the cast, making a character come alive is relatively easy. For others, no amount of direction or rehearsal is going to result in a good characterization. Especially in high school productions, there will always be a few off-key voices, missed lines and a few technical difficulties. That, however, is not the point. The point is that a youthful cast of characters works together to create on stage something that makes them feel good and proud. In the end, it is that moment in the spotlight that really matters. Mashpee High’s “Godspell” was no exception.
We attended the first of three performances. At the beginning, the cast was a bit tentative as they got their “stage legs”, but by the end of the show, their energy and enthusiasm filled the theater. They held the audience (God)spell bound as they brought the show to its final curtain. Then, it was time for the best part. The cast returned to the stage to receive a well-deserved standing ovation. The sheer joy and pride reflected in the face of each cast and crew member’s face was worth far more than the price of admission.
Centuries ago, the guy from Nazareth said, “Let the children come to me, because such is the kingdom of heaven.” That was Jesus’ way of saying, “Kids should move to center stage with a spotlight or two shining on them, because this is God’s way of doing things.” Encouraging our kids to use their talents, no matter how great or little those talents may be and then shining the spotlight on them and applauding their efforts, is a wonderful antidote for the negativity that, far too often, surrounds our kids and clouds their future.
Advice is cheap, but I’m going to give you a little anyway. Find a high school theater production of “Godspell” or any other show near you, buy some tickets, take your seat, have your soul lifted up by our kids and then give them their moment in the spotlight. For a bunch of committed and inspired kids, it will make all the difference in the world!
John E. Holt, Cotuit, MA