UPDATE March 12 —Following the closure of Darien Schools, Theatre 308 has announced the new production set to open March 19, Godspell, has been postponed. New dates will be announced when available.

Darien High School’s Theatre 308 spring production this year is the hit Broadway musical Godspell. The show opens Thursday, March 19.

Godspell was first performed in 1971, created by composer Stephen Schwartz’s before his successes with “Pippin” and “Wicked.” Schwartz worked with the author of Godspell John Michael Tebelak to create the massively successful show that still connects with audiences today.

DHS musical theater director, Tim Sorensen, notes that “Godspell is a beautiful production about the creation of a community. It’s about people coming together through joy, humor, and love. In today’s world, it is the perfect story to tell, and our students do a marvelous job.”

Theater 308 had the opportunity to learn, play with improvisation, and meet the author of the book “The Godspell Experience —Carol de Giere,” as well as having the opportunity to meet Stephen Schwartz himself at the ACT Ridgefield production of Godspell.

Musical Director Kimberly Sadler provided a synopsis of the show. “Taken mainly from the book of Matthew in the bible, the stories and music are primarily led by Jesus who emphasizes the teachings of God through the bible stories in a way that is entertaining, light-hearted, and keeps a global audience in mind.”

Senior and Theatre 308 board member Christopher Conte plays Jesus. He spoke about his role saying, “I looked a lot into putting my vulnerability into this character because he has to be the leader of these people and I also thought about my relationships with everyone because he gets to have the chance to have a connection with everyone throughout the show.”

Junior, fellow Theatre 308 board member, and student choreographer for Godspell Jackson Wood is playing both Judas and John the Baptist. On playing Judas, he said, “He’s looked at as the antagonist of the show and of course he is but I’m trying to see him in a different light, trying to see him in a different frame of reference of my own character, not thinking of him only as an evil villain.”

President of Theatre 308, Perrin Trask, will performing the song “By My Side” and is playing the character of Perrin. Trask, as well as 11 other principal players, are emulating the disciples, but are bringing their own personal experiences and life personalities and names to each of their characters.

Sadler added, “These kids went through the process of writing their own backstory based on their own personality, their own personal lives and their own connections with each other, with life, family, religion, whatever it may be.”

Stage manager, set designer, and Theatre 308 board member Skyler Bennett explained how they took advantage of being able to make the show personal to the cast and crew. “The purpose of the set for the show is actually based on the Grove Street Pavillion in the town of Darien. The idea of it was to mirror the community that the actors made on stage with the community that we were all sort of raised within. So we took landmark locations from our memories of our childhood and recreated them on the stage as sort of an homage and farewell to the community that’s shaped us.”

“As stage manager it’s been really extraordinary bridging the gap between cast and crew because you see the cast come together and infusing some of themselves into this wonderful idea of community and love. Then the crew collaborating to literally create their town and our community. It’s something really extraordinary when those two things merge.”

Another way students were able to display their autonomy and creativity was by having a student work even closer with the direction of the play. Elizabeth Kelley, student director, actress playing Elizabeth and performing the song “Lessons,” was asked by director Sorenson to work with him specifically on feedback and stage direction.

Sadler spoke about Kelley’s work on the play as, “ bridging the gap between what we’re looking for as directors along with the perspective of her peers and her fellow cast members. So I thought it was a good fit for her this year to kind of step into that role and play around with the idea of having a student assistant direct and give her feedback on a lot of the scenes.”

Elizabeth Kelley described what it is like playing Elizabeth. “What I’ve been interested in is kind of peeling back the expectations of our behavior and getting more in touch with our essences as people. Kind of exploring the sillier, simpler parts of ourselves that society kind of told us to shy away from in favor of being guarded.”

Opening night is Thursday, March 19 at 7 p.m. and will continue on Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m. and the last performances are on Saturday, March 21 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for adults and can be purchased on theatre308.org and a limited amount of tickets will be available at the door.