(From left) Elizabeth Fisher sings “We Beseech Thee” from the musical “Godspell Jr.” as Jamyla Willette, Dana Chapman and Hailey Moore provide backing vocals.
If You Go:
What: Godspell Jr., the musical
Where: Seton Catholic Central School, 206 New York Rd., Plattsburgh
When: May 17–19; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Cost: Tickets are sold at the door and cost $4 for students and senior citizens and $7 for the public.
A miniature version of a classic musical, “Godspell,” is coming to Seton Catholic Central High School this weekend.
“We’ve taken a full-length performance down to a more accessible size,” said Adirondack Regional Theatre founder Tom Lavin, who is co-drama coach for the performance with his wife, Pamela.
The original musical was written by Stephen Schwartz and based on a book by John-Michael Tebelak.
It opened off Broadway on May 17, 1971.
The new, accessible size, called “Godspell Jr.,” omits one song and about a half hour from the length of the original, bringing it down to about one-and-a-half hours.
Other changes also included gearing the songs toward middle and high school students, which means no low basses or high sopranos.
But even though it has been shortened, Lavin said most aspects of the musical remain intact.
The characters will still don the colorful outfits that helped make the original musical famous, a combination of styles Lavin described as “hippies and clowns,” and the integrity of the story has been preserved as well.
“It follows the Gospel of St. Matthew, telling the story of Jesus and John the Baptist, but just because it’s based on bible stories, it’s not necessarily for people who want to be religious,” Lavin said. “It shows life lessons and how our actions affect how we interact with other folks.”
The eight-person cast of Godspell has been practicing steadily for the past two months, squeezing rehearsals in between other obligations, like sports and academic clubs.
“It’s been different for every cast member, but we show up when we can and have fun with it,” said Dana Chapman, a twelfth-grade student who plays an apostle. “In between rehearsals you can hear people singing the songs. It’s exciting because this musical tells old stories in a new way.”
Being a musical, most of the performance is done in song styles that include vaudeville, Broadway, ballad and rock.
“It has some upbeat songs and they’re all relatable to the bible, but we still crack a lot of jokes,” said Jamyla Willette, a senior who plays Jesus. “Everyone should come because the songs are great, and you don’t see a girl playing Jesus very often.”