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February 2009

Release Date: Feb. 17, 2009ASU Logo

Arts at ASU to Present ‘Godspell’

“Godspell,” the 1970s-era musical that originated as a project by college students, is back on a campus stage as the spring musical production of the Arts at ASU.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. March 4-7 and 11-14 in the Angelo State University Modular Theatre with a special matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8. Tickets are $8 for the general public, $4 for non-ASU students and $3 for ASU students. Admission is free for Arts at ASU subscribers and ASU activity card holders. The Modular Theatre is located in the Carr Education-Fine Arts Building, 2602 Dena Drive.

The popular musical is based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew and was first performed by students at Carnegie Mellon University. The production later ran off-Broadway before hitting the big time on Broadway.

“Godspell” has endured since its opening through numerous touring companies and revivals of the musical. The production was scored by Stephen Schwartz and includes familiar songs, led by the international hit, “Day by Day,” which reached No. 13 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the summer of 1972. “Godspell” was produced by John-Michael Tebelak at age 22 as his master’s thesis project at Carnegie Mellon.

Besides “Day by Day,” the ASU cast will perform “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “All for the Best,” “All Good Gifts,” Turn Back, O Man” and “By My Side.”

An archaic spelling of gospel, “Godspell” draws from theatrical traditions, including clowning, pantomime, charades, acrobatics and vaudeville, in reflecting on the life of Jesus. Parables taken mainly from St. Matthew alternate with modern music using lyrics from traditional hymns during the show.

James Worley, associate professor of drama, is directing the production, which stars Benjamin Briggs as Jesus and Joel Guerrero as John the Baptist and Judas. Other cast members include Nathan Johnson, Edwin Mayer, Zeth Collom, Andrea Austin, Hillary Shurtleff, Alexis Jolliff, Megan Reeves, Jamie Westfall and Roseanne Reese.

Briggs, a native of Florida, came to ASU from the Air Force after being stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base. He previously portrayed Rapunzel’s Prince in the ASU production “Into the Woods” in 2008.

Guerrero also appeared in “Into the Woods” as the Mysterious Man. The junior is a native of San Angelo and participated in the Central High School theater program and Angelo Civic Theatre productions. He is a teacher at the San Angelo Broadway Academy.

Dr. Scott Raines, associate professor of music at ASU, is the production’s music director, Eldra Sanford is the costumer, Matt Smith is technical director, Adam Torres is the accompanist and assistant music director with Brian Jones serving as choreographer.

“Godspell is probably the most ‘family-friendly’ of all the 1970s musicals,” Worley said. “It re-tells the story of Christ from a contemporary, albeit fun, perspective. What would it be like if Jesus had come today, rather than 2,000 years ago? This style of this play shows that his lessons – the parables – are just as relevant today as they were back then.”

Tickets go on sale Feb. 25 in the ASU box office, open 2-6 p.m. weekdays in the Carr Education-Fine Arts Building. Call 942-2000 for reservations.

For more information on the production and cast, contact Worley at 942-2318, ext. 241.