SHERIDAN — The story of “Saint George and the Dragon” may be one of the more popular story lines in history, featuring a heroic protagonist slaying an evil beast to save the princess.
The plot line has been tweaked and altered over the years; authors, movies and even video games have adapted the tale to different purposes.
Doug Sheehan took the plot and made it his own, as well. Sheridan residents will have the opportunity to see his version of the medieval story in April.
Written and directed by Sheehan, the musical titled “George and the Dragon,” will be performed next month for Sheridan College’s spring play at the Whitney Center for the Arts.
“The way I’ve structured it is that George still has to go in and face the dragon and to save the woman,” Sheehan said. “The difference is who the woman is, who the dragon is and other things that make this theatrical and a bit mystical.”
“George and the Dragon” is one of three plays Sheehan has written, and the second play that he will direct for Sheridan College.
Sheridan College President Dr. Paul Young approached Sheehan to direct one of his musicals for Sheridan College, a proposal to which Sheehan quickly agreed.
“The deal is that basically I take over for a semester as an adjunct professor,” Sheehan said. “I teach the two-hour block for the play and then we put on the play at the end of the semester.”
But he had one stipulation — he wanted to bring in his own lead actor. George, in this particular musical, is an older man. So, Sheehan brought in Mokey McNeilly, a friend of Sheehan’s from their days working in television in Hollywood.
McNeilly previously directed the musical, but is looking forward to participating as an actor.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to do it again,” McNeilly said. “I think it will bring a whole other slant to it that will be better. I’m really happy to just be an actor.”
During his time at Sheridan College, McNeilly has also been holding acting workshops for students.
“He’s brought a richer, more theatrical experience this semester,” Sheehan said. “I think the students are going to come out of it with some skills that they never looked to come out of it.”
Two other non-students, local resident Melissa Butcher and Sheridan College employee Mary Jo Johnson, will also join the cast for the performance.
Sheehan chose the production of “George and the Dragon” for its content and the list of students and characters who signed up for the musical. The musical was performed previously at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.
“The director is the lawyer for the audience — you have to keep your finger on the pulse of the audience,” Sheehan said. “Audiences seem to respond to this.”
The performance will be special for Sheridan College and those involved with the play, as it will be performed in the concert hall at the Whitney Center for the Arts.
The performances will take place April 22-23.