Tag: musicals

Theatre Arts Department Presents the Musical “Godspell”

A contemporary twist on the popular Broadway musical “Godspell” comes to the stage of Lawrence University’s Stansbury Theatre Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

Godspell_newsblogPerformances of the musical by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak are at 8 p.m. each night with an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Nov. 1. Tickets, at $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

The two-act production presents the Gospel of Matthew in musical parables. It follows the last days in the life of Jesus Christ and culminates in the second act with his betrayal by Judas and his crucifixion.

Originally inspired by theologian Harvey Cox’s 1968 Playboy Magazine article that featured an image of a laughing Jesus, “Godspell” has enjoyed numerous interpretations and treatments since its Broadway premiere in 1971.

Lawrence’s production will feature a contemporary setting and include “a larger exploration of art around religious subjects and stories through the centuries using a wide variety of artistic expression, including music, dance, storytelling, costumes and visual art,” said director Timothy Troy, professor of pheatre arts and the J. Thomas and Julie Esch Hurvis Professor of Theatre and Drama.

“Throughout Western history, the best musicians, visual artists, dancers, poets and dramatists addressed our collective relationship with our faith traditions through the arts,” said Troy. “All art making, whether sacred or secular, is an act of faith.”

This production will feature the 2012 revision of the score, which according to Troy, “explores a much wider variety of musical styles than the original, and features far more ensemble singing than the 1971 Broadway production and the 1973 film adaptation.”

Maggie Ward, a senior from Wausau, calls the show’s music “stunning.”

“A lot of it was rewritten for the 2012 Broadway revival and some of the songs have had a drastic tone change compared to the original show,” said Ward.  “One of the biggest changes is ‘Beautiful City,’ which has been altered into an absolutely gorgeous ballad.”

Ward has the honor of singing the show’s best-known song, “Day by Day.”

“It’s a little daunting to be performing a song that is so popular and that has a lot of meaning for people, but I’m also very excited,” said Ward.

Monica Rodero, associate artistic director of the Milwaukee-based Wild Space Dance Company, choreographed the production.

“Monica’s deep background in collaborative production and modern dance brings a wide range of movement and gestural style seldom seen in traditional production of ‘Godspell,’” said Troy.

Phillip Swan, associate professor of music and co-director of choral studies, is the show’s musical director. Theatre arts department members Keith Pitts, Karin Kopischke and Aaron Sherkow designed the set, costumes and lightening, respectively, for the production.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.

Tony Award-Winning Musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” Performed at Lawrence University

Four performances of Lawrence University’s production of the Tony Award-winning musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” will be staged Oct. 25-27 in Stansbury Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Curtain time is 8 p.m. each night with an additional 3 p.m. matinee performance Saturday, Oct. 27. Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

A “musical within a comedy,” “The Drowsy Chaperone” parodies 1920s musicals with a show-within-a-show plot device. The show begins in the apartment of a character known only to the audience as Man in Chair, an agoraphobic Broadway fanatic who has acquired a recording of a fictional 1928 musical titled “The Drowsy Chaperone.” As he listens to the record, the musical’s characters appear in his apartment to tell the farcical story of fiancés Janet Van de Graaf, a Broadway chorus girl giving up show business for married life, and Robert Martin, an oil tycoon.

“This piece echoes the 1920s, the decade that developed our shared definition of Broadway, and through those references lets us explore our own ideas about entertainment and escape,” said Kathy Privatt, associate professor of theatre arts and the production’s director.

Associate Professor of Music Phillip Swan serves as the music director for the production, which is based on a book by Bob Martin and Don McKeller.

Among the 1920s-era musical clichés “The Drowsy Chaperone” spoofs are stock characters — a ditzy chorus girl, comic gangsters and a stiff English butler, among others — impromptu tap-dancing numbers and mistaken identities.

Freshman David Pecsi plays the Man in Chair, with juniors Madeline Bunke and Alex York portraying Janet Van de Graaf and Robert Martin. Junior Gabriella Guilfoil plays the titular character, the drowsy chaperone, an alcoholic stage diva tasked with keeping Janet away from Robert until the wedding.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,450 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.