SIDNEY — Lehman Catholic High School will present its 39th annual all-school musical — “Godspell” — on March 23, 24, and 25, 2017, at the school. The Thursday night curtain is at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m.
Based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, “Godspell” is not built on a traditional plot but rather utilizes storytelling, song, and dance to tell its message, a reflection on the life of Jesus Christ through his teachings and parables. Written by John Michael Tebelak for his graduate thesis at Carnegie Mellon University in 1971, the show features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It played 2,124 performances Off-Broadway before moving to Broadway for 527 more. A film version was released in 1973. The staging of both the original production and the film reflected the hippie/flower child culture of the 1970’s. A more contemporary revival played Off-Broadway and on tour in 2000 and an even more updated version was produced at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York in 2012.
After “Godspell”, Stephen Schwartz became a Broadway legend with shows like “Pippin,” “The Magic Show,” “Children of Eden,” “Working” and his mega-hit, “Wicked.” He has also written music and/or lyrics for a number of animated films, including “Pocahontas,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “The Prince of Eqypt.”
Familiar songs in “Godspell” are “Day by Day,” “O Bless the Lord,” “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” and “All Good Gifts.” Lehman’s production is set in a modern day high school with the principal players and chorus members assuming stereotypical teenage characters.
Sophomore Conor O’Leary is playing the leading role of “Jesus.” He is the son of David and Emily O’Leary, of Sidney. Playing “John the Baptist” is senior Will Hoersten, son of Pat and Jennifer Hoersten, of Sidney. In the role of “Judas” is junior Kameron Lee, son of Kris and Peg Lee, of Piqua.
Principal players are Sarah Gibson, Mary-Kate Haas, Kyra Moos, Megan Neumeier, Kaitrin O’Leary, Leah Peoples, Jacquie Schemmel, Joe Schemmel, Jacob Schmiesing, Theresa Schmiesing, Aidan Snyder and Caitlin Swallow.
Members of the chorus are Kaylen Armstrong, Miriam Bezy, Tessa Brown, Angela Brunner, Melanie Brunner, Kiera Burns, Sophia Flood, Kirstyn Lee, Clare Schmiesing, Theresa Schmiesing, Skye Shi, Shannon Staley, and Brieanna Werling.
This is the third time Lehman has staged “Godspell,” but the first time as the spring all-school musical. The 1993 and 2001 productions were done as class projects by the Lehman Limelighters Show Choir.
The production staff for Godspell includes Bill Zimmerman, director; Betsy Moorman, producer; Jenny Weber, vocal director and rehearsal pianist; Libby Galbreath Jacob, choreographer; and Elaine Schweller-Snyder, production consultant. Darla Cabe is overseeing costumes, Bradly Gravunder is in charge of the visual design, and Mark Iiames is taking care of the sound.
The musicians are Jenny Weber, piano; Betsy Moorman, keyboard; Eric Burgasser, guitar; Mary Beth Monnier, bass; and Ken Monnier, percussion.
Student crew members are Liz Pax, stage manager; Theresa Flood and Joe Ritze, sound; Josh Armstrong and Sam Ritze, spotlights; Lindsey Elsner, Lauren Larger and Carly Edwards, backstage.
Reserved seat tickets for Godspell are $10. Bleacher general admission seating is $8. Tickets are available at the door or can be reserved by calling 937-498-1161 ext. 132.