Danny Hochstatter. Photo by Rick Vogeney.The intent of John Michael Tebelak, the original mind behind Godspell, was to bring out the “joy and humanity” of Jesus.  In order to make Jesus live in such a way, every cast and crew that performs it must use their imagination and creativity to make Jesus the man of joy, alive within their time and culture.  From the outset, CYT attempted to do just that by first deconstructing Godspell before reconstructing it around the Jesus they know.  Their final product delivered brought Jesus to life in the 21st century in a mesmerizing way. 

From the opening solo of Judas (Kevin Wright), it was clear this was not your grandfather’s Godspell.  This was Jesus living in and confronting the issues of today.  Kevin sang this first solo in a strong yet chilling way, bringing in high emotion from the beginning.  The dancers also helped throughout the play to bring home each message in a powerful way.  Danny Hochstatter brought Jesus to life with his warm smile and easygoing presence.  He made you feel like this is a person you would like to hang out with.  Throughout the play, Jesus looked up into the sky as if looking to God. He gave you the feeling there was constant communication between them.  He also shows great compassion to his companions, the children and others around him, even the Pharisees.  His voice is strong and pleasant.

The cast of disciples each brought different gifts to the stage, helping to make you both laugh and cry.  John the Baptist (Matt Silar) did a great job of bringing the disciples to the water while he sang and baptized them.  His humbleness as he baptized Jesus was very realistic. Also, playing his character in hobo like clothes put a great touch on his character.  A number of times a background of Stomp-like beats using drums, cans, brooms etc. helped to set the stage for the next song.  Sam (Beth Chapius) sang a lovely version of Day by Day.  Her character, as well as the other disciples, were all very individualistic, and they each came off as Totally Devoted Disciples of Jesus. 

As various parables were told, humor was used as well as some very touching moments.  One of the disciples brought in her “theatre friends” to help with the Good Samaritan story using different songs and costumes from other musicals to tell the story.  The Good Samaritan himself was a Sam’s Club worker whose line was, “I’m here to help.”  Tamera (Kathryn Madigan) sang O’ Bless the Lord, My Soul.  Her voice is very soulful, strong and she sang with amazing sincerity and feeling.  Her dancing is also amazing – even adding a little break-dancing.  All For The Best was a show-stopping duet by Jesus and Judas, and the dancers again really helped to make this scene.  The dancing in this musical was some of the best around. With such an awesome stage to work with, dancers were on three levels and in the aisles during many of the songs.  The choreography was stupendous.  I enjoyed Mia’s (Olivia Bus) voice as much as the rest.  She had a great presence when she sang, and danced beautifully as well.

Jane Layoff and Pete AlmeidaThe scenes with the young children were very touching.  They sang and danced with Jesus and looked like they loved every second they had on stage, as if it was real time with Jesus.  Zander (Pete Almeida) showed off his skills of comic delivery in his portrayal of the rapper/Prodigal son.  Brynn (Jane Layoff) also showed her adeptness in comic relief in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man.  In her dancing as well as her acting, she showed fantastic stage presence.  Her singing is phenomenal. She has a strong clear voice and sings with a haunting tone perfect for the songs she did in this musical.  While on stage, her facial expressions actions helped to make her a disciple you wanted to be like.

This show ends on a positive note where Jesus comes walking down the aisle from the back of the theater to greet his disciples after he has been crucified.  Their looks of pure joy and excitement truly let you know you have seen a miracle.  The audience was captivated throughout the entire musical and gave the remarkable cast a standing ovation.

Performed May 11-20, 2007.

Roshelle Hall
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Matt Silar and Beth Chapuis. Photo by Rick Vogeney.Jesus: Danny Hochstatter
Zander: Pete Almeida
Mia: Olivia Bus
Sam: Beth Chapuis
River: Dominick Davis
Brynn: Jane Layoff
Tamera: Kathryn Madigan
School Teacher: Melissa Scheele
John the Baptist: Matt Silar
Cheyenne: Hannah Smith
Judas: Kevin Wright
Emily Adams
Jeremiah Almeida
Katelynn Almeida
Nicolette Almeida
Kevin Annen
Kady Lou Annen
Alyssa Baron
Philip Baron
Alana Becker
Lindsey Benda
Cami Benda
Luke Benda
Megan Botterman
Josh Brehm
Sarah Brehm
Kelly Brennan
Joann Brennan
Dave Bus
Vashti Cassidy
Kali Cramer
Kaylee Crogan
MiCaela Davis
Alivia DeHaan
Joe Dybdal
Brittany Eder
Ashley Egler
Carolyn Engelhardt
Katie Engelhardt
Cara Fattori
Dessa Gow
Laura Gray
Julia Gronowski
Hannah Gronowski
Christina Hahn
Gabriel Harder
Lyndsey Hirschberg
Courtney Hirschberg
Shelby Hirschberg
Cody Hochstatter
Lauren Hoffman
Emily Holman
Nathan Holmer
Zach Holmer
Nicholas Holmer
Gabrielle Jacobson
Danielle Jacobson
Addie Jurss
Emily Kay
Molly Knight
Nora Kreml
Kasey Lewis
Annie Linder
Patrick Linder
Matt Maher
Anna Marquardt
Faith Marquardt
Adam Marquardt
Chelsea McCoy
Shannon McCoy
Caleb McCoy
Lauren Menzer
Nicholas Mills
Kristen Mills
Josie Nason
Allison Nason
Mike Nicosia
Jessica Nicosia
Kayla Nicosia
Chelsea Oleson
Megan Pearson
Maria Penas
Mark Penas
Josh Penas
Claire Perham
Stephanie Pettit
Alissa Pienkowski
Sara Polak
Kimber Pritts
Stephen Rogers
Rachel Rogers
Matthew Rohloff
Brie Russell
Brooke Russell
Zachary Ryczek
Grace Scheele
Erik Scheele
Jennifer Schmidt
Brianna Scicluna
Stephan Scicluna
Kalie Sizemore
Jessica Sterner
Emma Sterner
Noah Streelman
Jacob Streelman
Taylor Streelman
Brianna Tellschow
Tori Tellschow
Nicole Thrun
Yenitza Castillo Tristani
Rachel Turner
Emily Paige Turner
DJ Ulbert
Dulcy Walbridge
Joshua Warner
Sydney Wellnitz
Allison Wellnitz
David Westfallen
Keirstin Westfallen
Alli Westfallen
Alyssa Wike
Kory Williams
Wes Woodhouse

Director: Karen Gronowski
Music Director: Rachel Rilko
Assistant Director: Naomi Rogers
Choreographer: Marina Sterner


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