GODSPELL Opens Tonight At Adrian's Croswell Opera House

GODSPELL Opens Tonight At Adrian's Croswell Opera House

Students from nine area high schools will perform the classic musical GODSPELL beginning tonight at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian.

Based on the gospel of Matthew, GODSPELL features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, the composer of WICKED and PIPPIN. It debuted off-Broadway in 1971 and has enjoyed several successful revivals as well as a 1973 film adaptation.

The Croswell's production is being directed by Michael Yuen, who played John the Baptist and Judas in the 2000-2001 national tour of the show. It uses the score from the 2011 Broadway revival.

Classic songs such as "Day by Day" and "Turn Back, O Man," all derived from the parables of Jesus, are set against a modern backdrop that includes smartphones, tablets, and rapidly scrolling Twitter feeds. Just like in the original version, the show juxtaposes its biblical text with a contemporary appearance.

"The authors of GODSPELL never meant for it to stay frozen in the '70s," Yuen said. "They always intended that its look would be contemporary to whenever it was being presented, while the words of the Gospel remained unchanging."

GODSPELL is the Croswell's ninth annual all-area high school production.

"Every winter, we invite high school students from across our entire area to audition for our all-area high school show," explained Jere Righter, the Croswell's artistic director. "It's a great opportunity for students to get a different kind of experience than they would have in a school production. They get to meet theater students from other schools and work with directors, music directors and choreographers who expect a very high standard."

A.J. Howard, a student at Adrian High School, plays Jesus. Walter Book, a Petersburg resident who attends Ida High School, plays the dual role of John the Baptist and Judas.

The cast also includes Cole Carrico, Simon Cox, Alexandra June, Mercedes Polley, Ben Popejoy and Lylah Slupe from Adrian High School; Morgan Decker from Bedford Junior High School; Brad Hayes and Pierce Mitchell from Hudson High School; Katelyn Orta from Lenawee Christian School; Rachel Cheng and Brienna Scott from Madison High School; Virginia Rawlings from Onsted High School; Chloe Danley and Olivia Gawron from Tecumseh High School; and Hannah Buck from the Toledo School for the Arts.

A total of nine high schools from three counties are represented in the cast. Several more students have been involved in the production behind the scenes.

GODSPELL opens this weekend, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28. It continues the weekend of Feb. 2-4, with 7:30 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. shows on Sunday.

The Croswell, a 640-seat historic theater in Michigan, is located at 129 E. Maumee St., Adrian. For more information, call 517-264-7469 or go to croswell.org.

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