AHM Summer Youth Theater to offer up 'Godspell'
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., Jul. 16, 2013
Libby Quesada and Morgan Holtzclaw stood at the front of the RHAM stage directing a large cast in a rehearsal of “Turn Back, Oh Man,” one of the numbers from the '70s-era, Bible-based musical, “Godspell.” Holtzclaw and Quesada are both graduates of RHAM and the AHM Summer Youth Theater program, and they’re collaborating as choreographers for this year’s show. They are among a number of alumni who have returned to participate in the production this year.
AHM Summer Youth Theater is AHM Youth Services’ longest-running program, created in 1983. Mary Rose Meade has been with the program since 1992. She serves as both the program director and the production director, and program participants give her a lot of credit for the family atmosphere that pervades the productions.
“This is where I made all my friends,” said alumni Michael Figueiredo, a 2011 RHAM graduate who is now studying at UConn. Figueiredo moved from East Hampton to Marlborough as a seventh-grader. “This is the very first thing I did after we moved,” he said, of his involvement in the AHM show, “Annie Jr.” Figueiredo appeared in every show thereafter, and returned this year to provide production support.
2013 RHAM graduate Chris Yeterian also started his involvement with “Annie, Jr.” “I pulled the curtain that year,” he said. “She talked me into going onstage,” added Yeterian, with a nod toward Meade. Yeterian has been onstage for every show since.
“You should hear him sing now,” said Figueiredo. “He’s very good.”
Yeterian said that he likes the fact that performers come back year after year. “And you have the opportunity to grow as a performer, if you want it,” he added.
“It’s the best experience in the world,” added Figueiredo. “[Meade] is the life of the show. I love her.”
“Everybody does,” agreed Quesada.
“Godspell” is a musical by Stephen Schwartz with a book by John-Michael Tebelak. Its structure is that of a series of parables, based on the Gospel of Matthew. Traditionally, the show features a cast of eight players, a detail that posed a challenge for a program that consists, this year, of 58 on-stage performers and 10 additional staff. Meade met the challenge by splitting the eight characters among 21 performers who will share the roles of the apostles.
“Then there was the question of how to make the experience meaningful for the other 30-plus kids,” said Meade. “We want every performer to have a meaningful experience.”
Meade said that she embellished the opening number of “The Tower of Babel” to encompass more performers. Non-apostle performers have been cast as city dwellers who are slowly drawn into the action occurring between Jesus and the apostles. “By act two, the full cast has been drawn onto the stage,” said Meade.
The AHM Summer Youth Theater Production of “Godspell” will run from Thursday through Saturday, July 25, 26 and 27, at the RHAM High School auditorium. Show times are 7 p.m. Tickets, which are $9 for adults and $6 for seniors and children under 12, are available through AHM Youth Services at 860-228-9488, at the Hebron Town Hall (town clerk’s office) and at the door.