STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
A Malvern teen is adding another acting role to his personal history.
Thomas Lock, 17, is part of an ensemble cast of “1776,” which tells a story that’s 240 years old. Lock plays the Courier in the show that dramatizes John Adams’ efforts to persuade his colleagues to vote for and sign the Declaration of Independence. “1776,” the Media Theatre’s last show of the 2015-16 season, premiered on Broadway in 1969 and runs at Media from April 13 through May 22.
The Courier pops in and out as he delivers George Washington’s dispatches to the Congress. Lock said the show makes history fun.
“It shows the political side of everything and how these politicians had to compromise and get things done,” he said in a telephone interview.
The Courier is not as wealthy as most of the people in the show. He’s just an ordinary guy who happens to witness an extraordinary event in American history, he said. Lock gets to perform the song that closes Act One. It’s called “Mama Look Sharp.”
“It’s an eerie, chilling song,” he said. “It’s about, like, what an average American is actually going through at the time and the fact that he has friends who have died in the war.”
One of the greatest things about working on this show is getting to work with seasoned actors, like Ben Dibble, who’s well known in Philadelphia theater circles. Dibble plays John Adams.
“It’s so cool. They’re all so humble, so kind, and they’re all fantastic,” Lock said. “When you’re doing a scene with someone like that, it’s so much easier to be fully in it and fully invested.” It helps him become a better actor and he gains more and more experience.
“1776” isn’t the first time Lock has been on stage. He was Aladdin in “Aladdin Junior” at Media during the summer. He also performed there as a member of the youth ensemble in “Les Miserables” last year. He has performed in high school shows and community theater. He likes the art form so much that he hopes to become a professional actor.
“With acting, you’re still yourself, but you get to be yourself in a different circumstance,” he said. “There’s nothing else quite like it.”
And that includes nerves. Lock gets nervous, especially on opening night, but he reminds himself to just breathe. Once the show starts, he feels better, he said.
The junior at Great Valley High School, who likes choir and English classes the best and who also plays soccer, thinks that performing is thrilling. He said kids his age should try it if they want to, even if they’re afraid.
“Fear comes with it a lot of the time,” he said. “You have to be yourself and just have fun.”