I was on staff for about a month before Dean Acheson (the Sol Hurok, Theater Director Extraordinaire of Roeper Upper School) asked me to play the Jesus role in Godspell. Dean was the former theater teacher at Friends School and left before I performed that role 8 years earlier. Both schools have a philosophy of community involvement in the theater program – staff, students, parents playing together.
I thought: (a) can my aging bones play this part? and (b) how will parents/staff/students react to this newcomer leaping about on stage? I received the go-ahead from our Head, Pam Dart, and met with the student cast in Joanne Peters’ music room for the first rehearsal. We all auditioned for each other – in multiple ways – and became comfortable in the first hour. Working with the students was pure joy. They were enthusiastic, creative and talented. Dean tested my forty-something self by having me run up and down the risers to introduce the cast while singing the opening song…pant, gasp, puff. Gee, thanks, Dean. The show played to sold-out audiences. The Roeper community support for our efforts was outstanding. I wept a bit when it was over, thankful for their generosity. This was my introduction to most of the students, and when our daughter, Molly, enrolled the next semester, she was dubbed Jesus’s daughter. I’m not so sure this was how she planned to be recognized, but she’s a trooper herself and went on to make her own mark onstage in theater and dance.
Gerry Barrons, Former staff (PR/Recruitment/Asst. to Head) 1983-89, alum parent, Molly Barrons ’86