Whitnall High School to perform revised Godspell
Director reworked script to broaden musical's appeal
Greenfield - The musical "Godspell," delivering a tuneful and truthful message that we can all get along, will be presented at Whitnall High School, 5000 S. 116th St., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.
To broaden its appeal, director Tom Weisgerber took out as many Biblical references as he could so that the play's message could shine through better.
The emphasis is on community and communication.
"Community and communicate, they're almost the same word," he said. "You can communicate if you have community."
His goal is to give audiences and cast alike something to talk about long after the curtain goes down.
Although he took Biblical names out, the characteristics of those Biblical characters are still recognizable, Weisgerber said.
He also set the story in modern times to help today's students and audiences relate. But that presented a challenge.
"I thought, where would a bunch of different people meet and have them all be from different walks of life?" Weisgerber said.
He solved the problem by setting the story in the subway- not just any subway, but a New York subwaywhere people from all over the world as well as different walks of life would rub elbows.
While setting the story in a subway solved one problem, it created another: The set would have to be huge.
"This is probably the biggest set Whitnall High School has ever seen," Weisgerber said.
Whitnall students studying woodworking pitched in, getting real world experience of building something with levels and ladders that's so sturdy people can dance on it.
The set designer created a whole New York Times Square mural on the back wall.
Another unique feature of the production is that it has a high-energy, upbeat ending - a world of difference from the original script.
"Hopefully, everyone will be on their feet," Weisgerber said.
Part of the reason he chose "Godspell" for the spring musical is that it is an ensemble production, he said. Every actor contributes to the story, which contributes to the message of community.
The leads are played by Alex Latus and Christian Stikel. The cast also consists of Isabel Azmani, Benjamin Pratt, Elizabeth Brown, Jake Burkard, Eliana Reed, Ian Griffith, Anamarie Ditulio, Reilly Johnson, Tyler Centers, Sam Hushek, Helen Baker, Caroline Mohr, Kayla Atadero, Ariana Garcia, Jessica Prom and Meredith Heller.
Admission is $10, general, $5 students and seniors.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: the musical "Godspell"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Whitnall High School, 5000 S. 116th St., Greenfield
COST: $10, general, $5 students and seniors
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