Songs Fill Sanctuary
The idea for the musical, Godspell, started when a group of friends improvised scenes from the Gospel according to St. Matthew. John-Michael Tebelak, who wrote the script, and Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music, wanted to tell the story of Jesus and his disciples in contemporary terms. The duo created a show that became one of the longest-running Off-Broadway musicals; it then transferred to Broadway in 1976 and has enjoyed several revivals.
The musical’s ensemble cast tells different parables by using a variety of games and storytelling techniques. An eclectic blend of songs ranging in style from pop to vaudeville tells the story of Jesus’s life. The show ends by recreating the Last Supper and builds to the Crucifixion.
A long-time fan of the musical, Pat Breeding wanted to do a concert version of the show. Breeding, president of the Marysville Area Community Theatre, was able to incorporate her theatrical background with her membership at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, Marysville, to make the concert a reality.
Breeding brought together local arts organizations to sponsor the concert: the Marysville Area Community Theatre, the Marshall County Arts Cooperative, and Landmark Enterprises, Incorporated. Breeding teamed with Rachel Massoth, vocal music teacher at Marysville High School, to direct the concert.
“In Concert: Godspell” will be performed at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20, at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, Marysville. Admission is free; free-will donations will be accepted.
Breeding will conduct the twenty-five member choir with Massoth accompanying on the piano.
The choir’s members are from Marshall County and Washington County with one member commuting from Wichita.
David Burke, a graduate of Hanover High School, now lives in Wichita, but makes the drive to be a part of the concert.
“It’s a chance to see old friends,” Burke said.
Burke was an active member of the Marysville Area Community Theatre in the 1980s. He played the leading role of Tevye in the theatre’s production of Fidller on the Roof in the summer of 1986.
“I owe M-ACT so much in my life,” Burke said. “Fiddler on the Roof was thirty years ago this summer, and it was an experience for which I’m eternally grateful.”
Before moving to Wichita, Burke lived in the Quad-Cities of Iowa and Illinois, and was a member of a company that toured Godspell in the area. “Our cast, and subsequent replacements, really bonded doing the show. We’d get together and talk for hours about its meaning,” he said.
The drive from Wichita to Marysville was time well spent so Burke could sing the songs one more time. “Not only is this a unique, accessible, fun, and touching way of telling the Gospel of Matthew, it may be open to more interpretation than nearly any other Broadway show,” Burke said.
The most popular song from the musical is “Day By Day” which became a well-recognized single from the original cast album in 1972. Other songs include “All Good Gifts,” “By My Side,” and “On the Willows.”
For more information about the production people may contact Breeding at 785-562-6566.