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The ‘Godspell,’ according to Hayswood

The ‘Godspell,’ according to Hayswood
The ‘Godspell,’ according to Hayswood
From left, cast members Lilliana Rodriguez, Lauren Clift, Marcee LaHue and Stephan Glaspie rehearse a dance number Sunday for Hayswood Theatre's production of 'Godspell,' which opens Friday night. (Photo by Randy West)

It may be a characteristic of ‘Godspell’ that casts often bond tightly like, well, a group of devoted disciples, but rehearsals at Hayswood Theatre in Corydon for the ever-popular musical based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew have taken on aspects of a homecoming or family reunion.
Director Jennifer Merk Zink, for example, started out at Hayswood when she was eight in ‘The King and I.’ The musical director for that show was Beth Ehalt Bostock, who is back at Haywsood as musical director after a six- or seven-year hiatus.
Lauren Rhine Clift, 25, of Jeffersonville, used to live in Corydon. She was in ‘Cinderella’ and ‘the Wizard of Oz’ when she was 12.
Mark Crimans, 23, Corydon, was in ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ ‘Music Man’ and ‘Camelot’ about 10 years ago. He’s back from 1-1/2 years in San Diego. He came back to run the YMCA of Harrison County’s Day Camp and now he’ll play John the Baptist as well as Judas. He used to be in a band with the drummer for ‘Godspell,’ Brad Tate, the youth minister at Lincoln Hills Christian Church.
Although only 18 and a senior in high school, Stephan Glaspie is already something of an old hand at Hayswood, having directed the recent ‘Dracula’ production in the fall.
And in another act of togetherness, the cast left their rehearsal early Sunday evening to visit Bostock at the Beanblossom Cesar Funeral Home in Corydon where visitation was being held for her father, Elmer Ehalt, who died Friday at age 93.
‘Godspell’ was conceived by John Michael Tebelak when he was studying to be an Episcopalian minister. He went to an Easter service and was struck by the gloom and distinct lack of joy. He went home and started writing a contemporary version of the story of Jesus Christ that was joyful, energetic and inspiring, even though it ends numbingly with the Crucifixion. It has been a huge hit on stage ever since Tebelak hooked up with Stephen Schwartz who rewrote the score. It opened in New York City in 1971 and has been on stage ever since.
It features singing and dancing and instruction through the telling of several parables. Zink said Godspell is not ‘a big preachy show’ or a heartless historical version of the life of Christ. It’ll likely speak in some way to everyone in the audience.
‘This has something everyone can enjoy. This is that happy medium. It’s the Bible with pizzazz,’ she said Sunday evening at rehearsal.
Some of the most recognizable songs from ‘Godspell’ include ‘Day by Day,’ ‘We Beseech Thee,’ ‘Oh, Bless the Lord, My Soul’ and ‘Light of the World.’
The cast includes Michael Snelling as Jesus, Crimans, Clift, Glaspie, Marcee LaHue, Sherry Wagerman, Tyler Patterson, Lilliana Rodriguez and Kristin Coughenour.
The choreography is designed by Jill Sullivan, the stage manager is Rebecca Coughenour (Kristin’s mother), and Zink’s husband, Ron, is handling the lighting.
Show dates are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and then again the following weekend. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors, and, if the play is not sold out, can be purchased at the door. Reservations can be made by calling Magdalena’s Restaurant in Corydon (738-8075) or by logging on to www.Hayswoodtheatre.com
This production is sponsored by Legalese Court Reporting Inc. and is made possible by a grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation.

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