In Part 3 of a series of interviews with the cast of Godspell at Olney Theatre Center, meet Allie Parris.
Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year on local stages?
My name is Allie Parris and I’m a Marylander, born and raised! I grew up in Bethesda and went to Walt Whitman High School. I was last seen in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying at Olney!
Why did you want to be part of Godspell at Olney Theatre Center?
Who WOULDN’T want to do Godspell? It is such a fun and fantastic show. And I absolutely jumped at the opportunity to work at Olney again. Olney Theatre Center cast me in my first professional show (Annie in 2010) and Godspell will be my fourth show with them (and my third show with the divine Chris Youstra!)
Why is this musical so relevant today and what does it have to say to audiences of all ages?
Obviously, the subject matter of Godspell will always be relevant. But, beyond the religious themes, Godspell also preaches the power of community and cooperation. I think that those lessons are appropriate for every audience member, regardless of their age!
Who do you play in the show and what songs do you sing? If you have a solo tells us what it is and what the song means to the character and to you.
I’m part of the ensemble or “tribe” and I sing “Day By Day”. Of all the songs in Godspell, “Day By Day” is probably the most well-known. I’m truly honored to sing it!
Have you appeared in other productions of Godspell and who did you play, and how is this production different and unique?
No, this is my first time in Godspell! Actually, I am very new to the show, which is odd for me because I’m a theatre nerd. I grew up performing and taking classes at the Musical Theatre Center in Rockville and we did every show under the sun in my 10 years there…except Godspell!
What is your favorite song in the show and why?
I really enjoy the upbeat energetic songs, like “Light of the World” and “We Beseech Thee.” I really love rocking out with my cast mates!
Which character in the show is most like you, and why?
Well I would say the role “Allie” since she’s beautiful, intelligent and extremely witty…like me! Just kidding!
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
This show is incredibly collaborative and creative. It requires a lot of energy and teamwork and our cast is rift with both of those things. I’ve never been part of such a giving group of people and it’s a gift to be on stage with them!
How would you describe a Stephen Schwartz song and this score?
Stephen Schwartz’s songs are so beautifully written. He is able to produce a gorgeous melody line while simultaneously giving his songs an emotional arc. Godspell was his first score and it’s such a treat to be singing his music!
What was the best advice or suggestions that Director Jason King Jones about laying your character and how has Musical Director Christopher Youstra helped you with your performance?
Jason was such a judicious director. He really gave us time to play and let us develop our own concepts for the parables. Because of that, we as a cast really feel like this show is our own and that’s incredibly empowering. This is my third show with Mr. Youstra and this is the hardest show we’ve done together. Godspell‘s score is no joke–luckily, Youstra is a pro and his guidance pushed us to honor Schwartz’s work. Also, he always brings great snacks to rehearsals!
How would you describe Bryan Knowlton’s choreography and what was the hardest thing to learn?
This was my first show working with Bryan as a choreographer (I was his “secretary” in How To Succeed!) and it’s been absolutely divine. His choreography brings out some of the best parts of Schwartz’s music and he’s carefully crafted it to bring out the best in us as a cast. He’s incredible (both as a boss and a choreographer!).
Why should audience goers bring their families to see Godspell?
It really is appropriate for audiences of all ages and is an awesomely fun yet educational show. We’re having a blast up there on that stage…so come join us!
Meet the Cast of ‘Godspell’ at Olney Theatre Center: Part 1: Jordan Coughtry.
Meet the Cast of ‘Godspell’ at Olney Theatre Center: Part 2: Kurt Boehm.