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What “Jesus” Has to Say About Godspell

By: Jessica Rizzo

On November 17, 19, and 20th, Godspell will be giving the JCHS stage a new meaning. This school year is a unique one: JCHS is taking on a fall musical instead of a fall drama, and Godspell certainly won’t disappoint. This show is about seemingly “normal” people that unite under a leader who gives them a new “childish” perspective on their lives. This leader, Jesus, shows them what it really means to be a good person through a series of metaphors that open their eyes to what life is really all about. However, all good things cannot last forever, and once Jesus leaves, it is up to these individuals, with their new outlook on life, to spread the lessons they’ve learned to others and apply them to their own busy lives.

 

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Courtesy of DeeAnna Meluso

Playing the role of Jesus is clearly a big task to undertake. I was curious to hear from the actress that plays Jesus: the very talented DeeAnna Meluso. DeeAnna is a sophomore, and when I was chatting with her before her Godspell audition, she was so excited that our school was putting on this show. DeeAnna grew up listening to the music of Godspell and knows the show inside and out. I’m sure you could imagine how excited she was when she was cast for the role of Jesus. Recently, I sat down with DeeAnna to hear her thoughts about tackling the role of Jesus and how she thinks the audience will react to Godspell.

 

First, I asked Deeanna what she thought the most difficult part of playing Jesus will be. DeeAnna told me it will be hard for her to portray someone that has always been seen as a higher figure and leader in society. She chuckled and told me honestly, “Sometimes I’m more of a follower, so having other people follow me [in Godspell] is going to be interesting.” She is open to this new idea and can’t wait to see what she learns from playing her role.

I then asked DeeAnna what she was most looking forward to the audience seeing when they come see the show. DeeAnna smiled and told me how excited she was for the audience to see the set of the show. She told me the set would help portray what the main message of Godspell is, and the set would have a “childish theme” to convey the simplistic view of life we all have when we are children. DeeAnna elaborated on this simplistic perspective by telling me how “the purpose of Godspell is to teach you to focus on the more important things in life, which can also be the simplest things, and I’m hoping the audience will recognize that.”

My final question was a tough one. I asked what DeeAnna will take away from the experience of being cast as Jesus in Godspell. DeeAnna thought about it for a minute before saying, “This is really cheesy but this is really a dream come true because Godspell is one of my favorite shows… but I’m hoping I’ll take away a better understanding of [the show].” Even though rehearsals are just starting, DeeAnna already feels she has gotten a better sense of what the show truly is about. She feels she will take away the lesson that even if a person is deemed “ordinary” they can still learn to be unique and can become better people. After thinking about how to put her final thoughts into words, DeeAnna concluded that “it’s like a ripple effect… it’s about taking in the ‘goodness’ that people give you and spreading it to other people.”

This “ripple effect” is likely to spread to all those who come see the show. Godspell is clearly going to be an amazing musical that will give all those who see it a new interpretation on not only life, but also on what the student performers of JCHS are truly capable of.