My older boy is performing in Godspell this weekend, with other boys from the 4th grade (although Jesus and John/Judas are both played by 8th graders). When he came home earlier this year and said, “Can I stay after school for choir?” I was, frankly, shocked. “Of course,” I said, and wondered what the heck was going on.
So for the past several months he’s been staying after school and working with 18 other boys — all boys — to stage Godspell this weekend. It’s the first time they’ve done a musical production at the boys’ school and so there’s a learning curve for all of us — parents, teachers, and the performing boys.
Let me just say up front that if you have never watched a kids’ musical production come to fruition, it is quite amazing. I’ve been a part of two 5th grade musical productions in the past several years, and from what I can tell — and what I’ve been told — the process is pretty much the same no matter what the production is or who’s doing it. First, there is darkness. Then, there is chaos. Then, from the darkness and the chaos springs the most magical production. Magical, really, because you are flabbergasted that anything remotely entertaining could possibly spring forth from such darkness and chaos. But it does.
And even if no one is going to win a Tony or an Olivier (the UK version), all the moving parts of a musical production provide an education that you simply can’t get from reading about theater, or even by attending theater. So although at times Jesus forgot half of a Beatitude, or the Prodigal Son forgot to turn and face the audience, the sum of all its parts is much more valuable than a “simple” (ha!) production of Godspell.
All Good Gifts, my friends. All Good Gifts.