Arts & Entertainment

Church goes all out for musical

There are rock operas and then there's Godspell the musical, which is loosely based on the gospels written by St. Matthew, but with a more modern flavor.

In much the same vein as Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, which opened off-Broadway a year after Superstar, follows the life of Jesus and his band of youthful disciples in today's society.

The show is the first full production presented by Bethel Church. It runs from Aug. 7-9, 14-16 in the auditorium at the Richland church at 600 Shockley Road.

Ellicia Elliott, the award- winning drama director from Richland High School, directs the musical.

"I love the music in this play, and I love the unorthodox way this play shares positive messages of love and hope with the audience," Elliott said. "It can be enjoyed by audiences of all backgrounds and beliefs."

The musical's main theme is made up of messages of peace, love, respecting each other and joining together as a community seeking the better good, she added.

Godspell was written in 1970 by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off-Broadway in 1971. Since then it's been a popular touring show.

Though the structure of the musical is based on biblical parables, the stories are put to modern music. For example, there are parts of the play that take traditional hymns and intersperse those with contemporary music.

Sue Shick, producer of the production and member of Bethel Church, hopes this full- length show will be the first of many the church will present for the community.

"We would love to do more, but first we need to see if this show is supported by the community," Shick said. "We chose Ellicia to direct because she produces polished shows."

There is no admission to any of the showings, which are at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7-8, 14-15 with 3 p.m. matinees Aug. 9 and 16.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;