The West Liberty University’s Hilltop Players conclude their season with the iconic and inspiring musical, Godspell, opening Thursday, April 14 in the Kelly Theatre located in the Hall of Fine Arts on the campus of West Liberty University.

Using a variety of games and storytelling techniques Jesus’s life, and his eventual persecution is told through parables from the Gospel of Matthew. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus’s message of kindness, tolerance and love come vibrantly to life.

Godspell was the first major musical from a young Stephen Schwartz, who went on to write such mega hits as Wicked, Pippin. and Children of Eden. It features an eclectic blend of songs ranging from pop to vaudeville, including the iconic “Day By Day”, “Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord”, and “By My Side”.

The show has been co-directed by Michael L. Aulick, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dr. Melinda Kreisberg, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of Accreditation and Academic Planning. The two have teamed up with a talented cast that includes: Elijah Boyles as Jesus, Nathan James as John the Baptist/Judas and an ensemble company with Gabrielle Bennett, Elizabeth Conley, Geena Diomedi, Brady Dunn, Alex Franke, Chad Grubb, Brent Kimball, Sarah Lemley, Meaghan Macey, and Amanda Tamplen.

Set in a rundown alley of a depressed neighborhood, Godspell is the celebration of the power of love to create a community that can transform the world. The idea of transformation has influenced the entire design team, led by Meta Lasch (Costume and Set Designer).

Godspell is very much a collective effort by the College of Arts and Communication. The Music Program’s Dr. Scott Glysson, Director of Choral Activities/Assistant Professor of Music, is serving as Musical Director and will conduct/lead the band that is playing for the show – a band that is almost entirely made up of music students. Bob Villamagna, Assistant Professor of Art and the WV Artist of the Year, has added his expertise by having some of his students paint the graffiti on the set. Dr. Matthew Harder, interim Dean of the College of Art and Communication and head of the Music technology program is overseeing one of his students who will run the soundboard and handle all microphones. Even the Broadcast/Journalism program has a role, helping run a camera and monitors so the conductor can cue singers when necessary (the band is behind the actors).

While the musical Godspell was first produced in 1971, the WLU Hilltop Players’ production is the revival from 2012. This version features two new songs (“Tower of Babble” and “Beautiful City”) and updates some of the old music, giving it a little more modern kick.

Godspell 2012 runs April 14-16 at 7:30pm and April 17 at 3:00pm. For tickets and information call the box office at (304) 336-8277 or buy tickets online here.