Tedder

Godspell’ opens at Art Center—Passionate local youths star in stage play

I have been wanting to ask this question for 37 years.?Can God spell? In this particular stage play, there is no doubt. The story of His son’s ministry over three years can be spelled out in one word. F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C.

The 12 young people doing this show gave me hope and enthusiasm for this generation. The dedication to their work, attention to detail, and obvious hard?study is awesome and will continue to pay off for the next several weeks, and for this cast, for years to come.

Luke Quarto, who plays Jesus in this 1970 musical, is impeccable in his dialogue of the Gospels, his mannerisms, facial expressions, and body language. When?Jesus comes back, I hope He is more like Luke than the pragmatic stuffed shirt a lot of religious faiths show Him as from the pulpit in today’s churches.

Ben George, 14, Evan Scott, 17, Zach Pierce, 17, and Jesse Cannady, 18, make up the males in this project, the last three just gradated from area high schools, along with Quarto, who is about to be 19. ##M:[read more}##

All four have the?presence of pros who have been on the stage for several years and are naturals, with tremendous talent and abilities. Jesse portrays Judas, the Betrayer, and John the Baptist as well. He does a great job, considering he is having to go from one extreme to the other.

Dannise Warrick, McKenzie Wallace, Mallory Carter, 12, Kaylie Hackett, also 12, Jessica Theiss, 16, and Emily, 15, and Kaylin Davis, 20, make up the incredible female cast of this play. The?Davis sisters are the daughters of Director Glen Davis, who himself?has been on the “Godspell” stage twice, and Kaylin is the choreographer. She has accomplished a?masterful job in the dance and movements of this ensemble.?I have to say I was astounded at the?angelic voices of this entire cast, especially the vocals coming out of the two 12-year-olds. Those kids on American Idol cannot hold a candle to what I saw on this Center for the Arts stage.

Dennis Pessar is the co-Director, having been in a production of and a director of Godspell himself. He is also the musical director, and between him and Davis, they are terrific at?guiding this wonderful cast.

“Godspell,” written by John Michael Tebelak, was acted onstage long before its time. In many places in the South it was not even accepted onstage. In 1970, a lot of people considered it blasphemous to God and Christianity. Over the years, it has moved along with the times, and as times have changed, so has people’s ideas and opinions of this stage play. It now is enjoyed not only by my generation, but the generation behind me and this generation of youth, to whom this play is new.

Several cast members I talked to during a break in their rehearsal were very vocal about their Christian faith, and the fact that this play is not only something they love and enjoy, but is also a witness and testimony to their God. For this I was humbled and appreciated their advocacy.

“Godspell” runs May 31, June 1 – 3, and June 7 – 10,?at 7:30 p.m.?Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sundays, on the Gallery Stage. Tickets run $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $5 for children under 12.

I hope every church youth group in the city sees this, along with the several generations of people who loved this show while they were growing up.

Upcoming Performances:

Godspell

Center for the Arts?May 31, June 1 – 3, June 7 – 10

VaudeBoro

The Theater at Patterson Park?June 1 – 3

Vanities

Murfreesboro Little Theater?June 8 – 10, 15 – 17

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