WILSON, N.C. — October 30, 2019 — Theatre at Barton is thrilled to present “Godspell,” which features a clever script and pop rock music, based on the gospel of Matthew. Originally conceived by John-Michael Tebelek in 1970, this concept was used for a directing project while he attended graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University. The musical score was written by Stephen Schwartz, known for the famed shows “Wicked,” “Pippin,” ”Children of Eden,” and for movies including “Prince of Egypt,” “Pocahontas,” among others.
“Godspell” will open on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m., in the Kennedy Family Theatre on the campus of Barton College. Additional performances will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings, Nov. 8 and 9, at 7:30 p.m., with an afternoon performance to follow on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 3 p.m. A preview performance, by invitation only, will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 6:30 p.m.
“Almost 50 years later, we are looking for the same improvisational ideas, but with a more contemporary feel,” shared Sherry Lee Allen, interim director of Theatre at Barton. “The cast, comprised of 10 fiercely talented students who never leave the stage, work together to tell a “good tale or story” through skits and songs that exemplify the parables Jesus shared with His followers.
“There is humor and heart, dramatic and uplifting songs that showcase individuals, and, throughout the show, the company becomes a community — a family,” Allen noted. “The character of Jesus is portrayed in a very human, charismatic fashion by Daniel Toler, the sacrificial lamb; however, the importance is placed on the true meaning of each lesson. Perhaps now, more than ever, there is a need for this significant message of kindness, communication, understanding, hope, and love for one another, so we have placed it deliberately front and center.
“Our goal is not only to entertain, but to explore the genuine and spiritual nature of this production, without being a strictly religious event,” Allen continued. “Audience members may experience the material in an emotional and powerful manner with a faith-based connection to understanding specific moments that represent Judas’ betrayal, the Last Supper or Crucifixion. The cast will provide guidance on the journey through their individual relationships, struggles and triumphs. Cast members will have their moments of recognition in the spotlight as their loyalty grows, deepening their love for one another, and their beloved leader.”
The set is a colorful playground designed by Michael Dornemann. Designed by Dorothy Austin-Harrell, costumes and props will define the characters and accentuate their individuality. The musical direction has been expertly handled by Rita Bennett, and Allen, director/choreographer of the show, has set the show in the round, with the audience fully encompassing the playing arena. Three musicians will support the cast with rock-style accompaniment, and the Barton College Sign Choir will be incorporated into the story-telling. Barton alumna Allison Dellinger, ’16, is adding her professional stage managing skills to the production, while she joins the theatre faculty as an intern for her graduate program at Virginia Tech. Other cast members include senior theatre majors Ashley Keefe, Jamie Allen, Jenna Sutton, and Savannah Wall, junior Synthandria Stockwell, and freshman Madie Booth, as well as Skylar McKinney, Linda Barrera, Alex Guyton-Lange, and Zachary Rayburn from the Wilson theatre community. With such a diverse cast, it will be easily relatable, and the universally themed show is sure to engage all ages.
Director Allen’s personal story with “Godspell” dates back more than 40 years ago when she played the role of Robin in Pittsburgh. She then toured with the show as Gilmer in 1980, and has directed and mounted several productions in 2000-2003. “I love the characters and their involvement with one another; they each have something to learn and something to say. We just do it through music and dance. I believe everyone can find a piece of themselves in the show. It is so close to my heart and I am beyond excited to share it with our community for our 10th anniversary season in the Kennedy Family Theatre.”
Tickets are available at the door or online at www.barton.edu/theatre. General admission is $12 for adults, $6 for seniors (65 and over), alumni, and military, and for non-Barton students. Tickets are free for Barton College students, faculty, and staff with a valid Barton ID.
For additional information, please contact Sherry Lee Allen, interim director of Theatre at Barton, at 252-399-6492 or email@example.com.