“Godspell,” the popular Broadway musical that the Gordon Central Performing Arts Alliance performed this fall under the direction of Dr. Kim Watters, won the AA State Championship One Act Play title on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Baldwin High School in Milledgeville.
“It’s remarkable, really,” said Watters. “The team is so proud of the accomplishment.”
Auditions for the play were held at the end of summer break and the students have worked hard since then on the production, perfecting the performance.
Watters said that the team chose to perform “Godspell” for a variety of reasons.
“I would have to say we were encouraged to do it from several angles,” said Watters. “Susan Skaggs, our costume designer, loves the show. Several of the kids had asked (to perform “Godspell”), but we kept deflecting the question. Finally, Mike Earnest and I just knew we had never directed it before and felt it was a good time to do the revival version (a new, more rock style version).”
Gordon Central is becoming a force to be reckoned with in performing arts, with two state titles in Literary and now, a state title in One Act Play. They have proven this year that nothing will get in the way of a first-rate performance. “This year has been different in so many ways,” said Watters. “First, we were constructing and renovating a space for a theatre, which actually displaced our practices. We were moving and using any place we could find.
“It was also a different show in that it is strongly an ensemble show,” continued Watters. “The players all must have strong skills. The show rode heavy on Sammy Tomasello (who played Jesus), but so many others had to demonstrate a strong talent for us to be noticed.”
Watters said the One Act group tackled this play in an extremely different way than years past. “Well, we feel like we did a lot different,” said Watters. “Since the students were working in such a ‘team approach,’ we were attempting (to implement a team approach) with the adult leaders as well. So many great people contributed to this production. From teachers to parents; we really maximized our resources. It’s a great balancing act to keep all these folks in the game and working together. We set the music as our first priority. We spent weeks just mastering the harmonies of the music. I believe that really set us apart from the rest.”
Gordon Central had previously competed in State One Act before in 2007 and 2012 but did not feel additional pressure to bring home the state title after winning the 7-AA Region title late last month.
“We had been to the state contest in AAAA in 2007 and AAA in 2012, but both yielded a 5th and 4th place, respectively,” said Wattesr. “In our AA state level this year, there were two performing arts magnet schools. One of those won AAA last year. The team that won AA last year was also in the competition. We were actually pretty relaxed. I told the team that we were not on anybody’s radar, so take the risk, be assertive and maximize their talents. If you do all you can do, we will have no regrets.”
Watters did have very specific advice for her students before the state performance. “Act like you know you belong here,” Watters told her performers. “We came to share two things: first, let’s introduce the state to who Gordon Central is and second, let’s share the message of this show- that we need LOVE in this world.”
In addition to the State win for the play, Mason Dockrey was awarded the State AA Best Actor and Aavyn Lee and April Price were named to the All-Star Cast.
Watters is beyond pleased with her group’s performance and says the group is happy that the whole school has rallied around their win. “They are walking on cloud nine,” said Watters. “The entire Tribe is excited for us. We have heard from other competitors, theatre friends and alumni of the program, all sharing their own excitement for the win and the addition of the new Blue Box Theatre. This whole year has been a dream come true!”
Of the students and their work that led to a flawless state performance, Watters tells them: “From the entire directing team, thank you! You have moved us, humbled us. encouraged us and shown us LOVE. In my 29 year career, I have never had a theatre experience quite like this one. It has been extraordinary and one I know has changed us all for the good.”