Tom Jones poster Petra

Support Local Journalism


Despite this weekend's performances, not everyone is excited about Petra Academy’s dramatic choice for its annual February play. But that’s not stopping the 30 students and staff involved in the production.

“It’s raised a few eyebrows, and I’ve had a conversation with folks who wanted more information,” said Headmaster Craig Dunham, “but we’re confident in the adaptation, as well as the skills of our students to draw out the themes of redemption in Tom Jones. It’s going to be a good show.”

"A History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" is Henry Fielding’s classic novel from 1748 chronicling the misadventures of the title character as he doggedly pursues the affections of his true love, Sophia. Despite differing social classes, the machinations of Sophia’s father to keep them apart and the interference of other women who take a liking to Tom’s good looks and gallant charm, he somehow succeeds.

The novel itself has a multitude of colorful characters who are all part of Tom’s story; additionally, there are a few situations, character motivations, and actions that make Fielding’s original story rather ribald and a touch indecent for readers, both then and now. Why would a classical Christian school like Petra perform such an off-color story, and how could it be “family friendly” as advertised?

“Indeed, 'Tom Jones' is a bawdy book, but our adaptation is not a bawdy script,” said Petra drama director Eli Denison. “Our adaptation remains true to the charm of the source material by retaining many of the memorable characters, but omits the coarser content that would make it unsuitable for a younger audience.”

Performances will be held in the Performance Hall of Petra’s campus at 4720 Classical Way on Thursday, Feb. 25, Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m.; there is an additional Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $20 for reserved seating at

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.