Local Students Make Up Cast of Musical "Godspell"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fairmont State University's School of Fine Arts and the Town & Gown Youth Company will present the musical "Godspell" on the main campus in January. The production features FSU students and recent graduates in the roles of production staff and area public school students in the acting roles.

Performances for the 1970 musical by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tbelak, which opened originally on Broadway, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 and at 2 p.m. Jan. 17 in Wallman Hall Theatre. Tickets are $15 and $13, based on their location in the theatre. To purchase tickets, call the Box Office at (304) 367-4240 or order tickets online at www.fairmontstate.edu/tickets.

"One of the goals of the Town & Gown Youth Company is to provide quality theatre experiences for children ages 7 through 18 in North Central West Virginia and to engage them in learning about themselves and others through theatre," said Dr. Francene Kirk, theatre department faculty member and mentor for the production. "A second goal is to allow Fairmont State students to take on positions, like directors and designers, which allow them to develop their artistry and teaching skills under the mentorship of the faculty." 

The show is the first musical directing experience for FSU student Marc Cornes. Others in production staff roles include Loralee Simpson as choreographer; Jimmy Clegg as musical director; Patrick Sibbett as set designer and scenic artist; Matthew Snyder as lighting designer and light board operator; Cora Childress and Jane Ryan as costume designers; Jenn Scholtz as stage manager; Bruce McGlumphy as assistant director; Katy Koval as dance captain; Celi Oliveto as prop master; and Evan Storms as sound board operator and sound designer.

Jack Butler of University High School plays the role of Jesus, and Anthony Kolanko of Morgantown High School plays Judas. The ensemble cast includes the following: Kailee Latocha of Barrackville Middle School; Olivia Hrko and Lincoln Skylar of Bridgeport High School; Brady Dunn, Clayton Dunn and Cody Wilson of Fairmont Senior High School; Katherine Koval and Nora Perone of Morgantown High School; Sarah Satterwhite of North Marion High School; and Rachel Dineen and Nick Osler of University High School.

"Many people have asked me, ‘What is ‘Godspell' about?' To me, ‘Godspell' is about peace and going back to the basics of how to live peacefully with one another," Cornes said. "These fourteen very talented young adults from all over North Central West Virginia get to teach us by themselves going back to the basics. The designers and artistic staff have taken the ‘spectacle' away, giving the actors common ‘found items' to tell this story."

"Godspell" is formed around a series of parables taken from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, interspersed with contemporary music from the 1970s, with many lyrics taken from the Episcopal Hymnal. The musical has been frequently revived off Broadway over the years, and in its day was a source of some controversy, being associated with the hippie counter-cultural movement.

" ‘Godspell' has been a very exciting project. It is the first Youth Company production run completely by Fairmont State students. As a faculty member, I find it so rewarding to watch the way in which our students interact with the high school students. The professionalism shown by both the university and high school students is remarkable," Kirk said.

To view a brief video about the production, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BTN2_ED6XA&feature=channel


Loralee Simpson teaches the cast some dance steps.