The Bible’s book of Matthew will take on a whole new look on the big
stage when students in the Bluefield College Drama Department present the
musical Godspell, Thursday through Saturday, April 24-26.
The musical production returns to the Bluefield College drama stage for
the first time since 1996 with shows set for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and
Friday, April 24 and 25 and 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 in Harman Chapel.
If you’re thinking of long robes and sandals, then think again. This
presentation of the Gospel of Matthew and the ministry of Jesus comes from
an entirely different approach, according to Charles Reese, BC instructor of
theatre arts and co-director of the college’s spring 2003 version of
Godspell. This story involves a totally new wardrobe with a grandiose set,
music extravaganza and recurrent audience participation. And, although the
play promises to be entertaining with its music and antics, it is more than
just amusing, according to Reese.
“This isn’t just a cute, funny play based on the teachings of Jesus,”
Reese said. “We hope to make this production of Godspell a radical
proclamation of God’s grace and the coming of the kingdom of God. We want to
present the story in a way that captures the intimacy of Jesus’ character,
but at the same time captures the sense of epic change and revolution that
the coming of the Messiah represents.”
The musical based on the book of Matthew tells the story of the earthly
ministry of Jesus, beginning with his baptism by John the Baptist and
culminating with his death and resurrection. The performance features, among
other songs, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Day by Day” and “All Good
Gifts.” And, like all good Godspell performances, Jesus will be portrayed in
a Superman t-shirt.
“Much has been made over the years of the clown motif that is often used
in presenting Godspell,” Reese said. “Many have seen this as a way of
trivializing the message and making Jesus into a comic figure. Perhaps a
more appropriate way to look at the play is not clown-like, but child-like.
Jesus himself said unless you become as a little child you can never enter
the kingdom of heaven. The whole idea behind this play is the creation of a
community of believers who have become childlike, who play games, tell
stories and sing songs and in the process discover the true meaning of
The BC students filling the majors roles in the production are Brian
Michaux as Jesus and Jaimito Valencia as Judas and John the Baptist. Other
student participants include: Raymie Ellis, Nikki Farley, Cassie Godfrey,
Nicole Hollingshead, Sarah McCloud, Emily McLaughlin, Dave Michaux, Princess
Patterson, Shanna Stoner, Mary Tatum, Layci Smith, Tom Viall and Dalles
Joining Reese in directing the play is his wife, Rebecca McCoy-Reese,
who also teaches theatre arts at Bluefield College. David Jones will serve
as music director and Jed Lockett is the stage manager.
Admission for each performance will be $5 for adults and $3 for seniors
and students. Performances are free to Bluefield College faculty, staff and
students. For more information, please call the BC Office of Public
Relations at 276-326-4212.
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