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Teens take charge in Hawkeye Christmas musical

‘Joy!’ goes beyond usual telling of the Nativity story

December 4, 2011
By HANS MADSEN, Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

What happens when the high school-aged cast of a Nativity production arrive to prepare for the show only to find that the director, the scripts, the sets and pretty much everything else needed are not there?

They stick to the old adage that "The show must go on," and make the best of it, with nothing.

David Stokesbary, the director of "Joy! A Christmas Rock Musical" at Hawkeye Community Theatre explained exactly how his cast of about 20 Fort Dodge Senior High and St. Edmond High School students go about that.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Dynastacius Collins, who plays Leon and King Herod, contemplates for a few minutes during a scene from the Hawkeye Community Theatre production of “Joy! A Christmas Rock Musical.” The show is about a group of high school students who come to be part of an annual Nativity show — where the director, scripts and set don’t show up.

"They work it up themselves," he said.

In addition, the play goes beyond the normal short version of the Nativity story.

"It stresses some of the things we don't hear much about," he said. "It goes beyond and past the birth of Christ."

Stokesbary said he's directed more than 20 productions, but this is his first musical and he too, is learning.

"It's the blind leading the blind," he said.

He is also impressed with his cast.

"These kids are talented and capable," he said. "I want to pull the best out of them and let them have a positive experience."

Jamila Shing-Hon, 14, who plays a teen actor named Mary who takes the role of the Virgin Mary, was enjoying the experience.

"It's a pretty fun role," she said.

Xavier Skaggs, 16, has been on the stage and acting since the age of 5.

Skaggs, like much of the cast, has two roles - a teenager named Badge and royalty - Melchior.

"It's good to be king," he said of his role as one of the Wise Men from the East.

Janessa Laupp, 16, plays Angie and a centurion.

She said she likes the elaborate nature of the show and working with her friends on the production.

Dynastacius Collins, 18, has been on the stage since his sophomore year. The senior plays Leon and another royal personage, King Herod.

"I really like the contrast of the characters," he said.

Like Stokesbary, he's impressed with his fellow actors and singers.

"We have a lot of talent here," he said, "It's a really fun show."

Of course, he also had a great reason for the public to buy a ticket and come see one of the performances.

"I'm in it," he joked.

Performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. on Dec. 16 and 17. A 2 p.m. show is slated for Dec. 18. Tickets are $10.

Contact Hans Madsen at (515) 573-2141 or



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