2009-07-23 / Church News

Fourth Community Musical Involving Many Local Churches Held

By Hope Moore

The cast of "Godspell" The cast of "Godspell" Theatergoers were invited to hear the parables of Jesus in the community production held July 16, 17 and 18 sponsored by the McConnellsburg and Cito United Methodist churches with the support of many other local churches, businesses, and individuals.

Fifty-six cast members from the community sang in four-part harmony and danced last weekend to share the Gospel of Matthew in a unique way.

"Godspell" was conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It was originally produced on the New York stage by Edgar Lansbury, Stuart Duncan, and Joseph Beruh with arrangements and orchestrations By Alex Lacamoire. "Godspell" was presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). "Godspell" is the story of Jesus (outstandingly portrayed by Brady Seiders) and the community of believers, including the hilarious antics of the Disciples (beautifully played by Ryan Chamberlain, Kelli Cordell, A'leese Dickerson, Jessica Dovey, Jeremy Fletcher, Nicole Fletcher, Darren Hoffman, Cole Johnston, Sherri Lynn, Nick McClure, Ellen Nesbitt, and Doug Seiders). God's good news often enters into our lives with laughter, and that was the accomplishment of this musical: a modern day version of the Gospels, opening with the philosophers of the past in Tower of Babel and then John the Baptist (wonderfully played by Doug Seiders) calling a group to follow and learn from Jesus. The Disciples along with the ensemble form an acting troupe that enacts the parables through song and dance, comedy and video. Through the stories we see Judas (masterfully portrayed by Jeremy Fletcher) interact with Jesus and the other disciples up to his betrayal. Jesus' ministry ends with a last supper, his crucifixion and his resurrection. Each production of "Godspell" is unique and every group puts its own personal stamp on it. That was true of this rendition. From "American Idol" to "Chariots of Fire" the parables of the Gospel came to life with this talented company of believers. The cast's main characters and ensemble are to be commended for giving it their best for the three performances and glorifying God.

This musical brought much time, talent and gifts of the community to the audience. Chad Mellott and his crew were instrumental in bringing the extended stage and set pieces. Sue Cubbage and the stage crew were masterful in transforming the stage into several different scenes through smooth transitions and an array of props and accents to enhance the tales told. Many people donated props and pieces to authenticate the tales and we thank them.

Chris Hicks with Voyager Music provided sound and lighting equipment for the production. Jason Carbaugh assisted in the setup and configuration of the lighting and sound. Tristin Deneen and James Griest did a wonderful job of lighting the stage and illuminating the characters.

In his fourth year with the production, Mike Glessner and his assistant, Denny Benedick, supported the cast by running the sound system.

Karen Godissart, the heart and light of the production, was the music director. She shared her talent through hours of practice accompaniment both by recording with her husband and breaking down the music with the cast and behind-the-scenes work. She should be commended for her dedication to both the cast and God. In its second year, the live orchestra consisting of Amy Connor, Chris Connor, Cathy Richards, Trent Sowers, and Bryce Wilford did a wonderful job. Karen was able to organize the orchestra and showcase its talent alongside the cast. They have all been truly blessed by God and the cast and crew was blessed to have them.

Hope Moore completed her eighth production as director. Hope was director for the past four McConnellsburg Elementary productions and the last three years' community productions.

"Godspell" was our fourth community musical and we look forward to next year's production. Auditions and casting will begin at the end of March 2010.

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