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Godspell

GodspellAugust 31 - 7:00pm
September 1 - 7:00pm
September 6 - 2:00pm & 7:00pm

September 7 - 2:00pm & 7:00pm
Book by John Michael Tebelak
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Conceived & Originally Directed by John Michael Tebelak
Based on The Gospel According to St. Matthew

Produced by Special Arrangement with Music Theatre International.
Amish Acres

A small group of people help Jesus Christ tell different parables by using a wide variety of games, storytelling techniques, and hefty dose of comic timing. An eclectic blend of songs ranging in style from pop to vaudeville is employed as the story of Jesus's life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus's messages of kindness, tolerance, and love come vibrantly to life. Godspell was the first major musical theatre offering from 3-time Grammy and Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz (WickedPippin, Children Of Eden); and it took the world by storm. Led by the international hit, "Day By Day," Godspell features a parade of beloved songs including "Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord," "Learn Your Lessons Well," "All For The Best," "All Good Gifts," "Turn Back, O Man" and "By My Side."




Scenes & Musical Numbers

Director Notes
Cast Bios
Production Staff Bios
Godspell Letter to Subscribers...
Read a Preview of Godspell by Frank Ramirez
Read a Review of Godspell by Frank Ramirez


Amish Acres


Godspell
Archive Photographs

   

 


A Note from the Director…


Prepare Ye the Way of the Locke…

Jeremy LittlejohnI have agonized over reviving Godspell for many years.  My philosophy about repeating shows at this theater tends to be...well...not to, unless I can make it as good, or better.  Godspell is the epitome of that concept.  The production that premiered on the Joseph Stein Stage in 1996 was nearly perfect.  Even the barn walls and load bearing posts, neither of which exist anymore, made the rustic Round Barn Theatre the perfect location for Stephen Schwartz’s first musical theatre effort.  Every time it came up in conversation, neither myself, nor Mr. Pletcher could imagine improving on it.  Then it hit me!  I had wanted to expand the Second Stage to include musicals for several years, so I began to develop a plan to bring Godspell back to RBT patrons through the Locke Township.  Putting it in an even smaller environment with a group of young people was the perfect way to offer a new perspective on this show that was so beautifully executed for our patrons almost two decades ago. Steeple People's astounding success showed me that the time was right to act.  As we continue to expand the program over the next few years, it is important that I pay homage to the productions that paved the way for our continued success. I didn't start out my theatrical life as a Godspell lover, but I am extremely fond of my first Stephen Schwartz project. My deepest thanks to David, and the Cast & Crew for helping make this experience wonderful!  Matthew 5:14

Jeremy Littlejohn



Godspell Cast

   

Anna Maria

 

Sara Bowling

Celisse

 

Kellie MacGowan

George

 

Ricky Iniesta

Jesus

 

Travis Smith

John the Baptist / Judas

 

T.J. Besler

Lindsay

 

Aria Skaggs

Morgan

 

Joelle Rassi

Nick

 

Christian Elias

Telly

 

Bradley M. Waelbroeck

Uzo

 

Michelle Miller


Godspell Orchestra

 

Piano

David Brennan

Guitar / Violin

Jessica Holdeman

Bass

Tom Slavey

Drums

Brian Bell

 

Godspell Staff

   

Executive Producer

 

Richard Pletcher

Director / Choreographer

 

Jeremy Littlejohn

Music Director

 

David Brennan

Technical Director

 

Tom Slavey

Costume Designer

 

Amber Burgess

Properties Master

 

Timothy James

Box Office Manager

 

Jennifer Scheffer

Legal Representation

 

Dumler & Giroux, NYC

Archive Videographer

 

Steve Jones

 

Musical Numbers

Act I

 

Prepare Ye

John the Baptist & Company

Save the People

Jesus & Company

Day By Day

Anna Maria & Company

Learn Your Lessons Well

Celisse, Jesus & Company

Bless the Lord

Lindsay & Company

All for the Best

Jesus, Judas & Company

All Good Gifts

Telly & Company

Light of the World

George & Company

   

Act II

 

Learn Your Lessons Well (Reprise)

Telly

Turn Back, O Man

Morgan, Jesus & Company

Alas for You

Jesus

By My Side

Uzo & Company

We Beseech Thee

Nick & Company

Beautiful City

Jesus

On the Willows

Judas & Company

Finale

Jesus & Company

 

Cast Biographies

T.J. BeslerT.J. Besler (Judas) comes to you from the small town of Manchester, Iowa.  Having received the actor bug at the young age of six there has never been anything else he can imagine himself doing.  After attending the University of Iowa, graduating with a degree in theatre as well as minors in dance and music, Besler continued to pursue his dream; performing all over the country, including N.Y.C., Los Angeles, Birmingham, and Nashville, among many others.  Some of his favorite roles include Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls, Seymour Krelborne in Little Shop of Horrors, and Elliot Garfield in The Goodbye Girl.  He would like to thank all those who have and continue to love and support him, especially his sister Tanya, without whom he would not be where or who he is today. 
Enjoy the show!


Sara BowlingSara Bowling (Anna Maria) is 16 years old, and has lived in Nappanee her whole life!  She is currently a Junior at Northwood High School where she is involved in theatre, an a-capella group called Vocal Jazz, and the Show Choir group, Dawning Generation.  She began performing at the age of 8, and so far, her favorite roles have been Sandy in Grease and the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  In her free time, she enjoys singing, playing guitar and being with friends and family.






Christian EliasChristian Elias
(Nick) is a 15 year old Goshen, Indiana resident, and he attends Goshen High School as a sophomore.  Christian is a member of several Men’s & Co-Ed Choirs, including Somo Vocci at Goshen College.  He participates in many of the plays and musicals held at his school, as well as other theatres such as the Lerner, and the Joseph Stein Young Actors Studio. He loves singing, dancing and playing guitar, and he gets to express that frequently as a member of the Crimsonaire Swing Choir at his school.




Ricky IniestaRicky Iniesta (George) lives in Goshen Indiana, and is a Sophomore at Northridge High School.  He loves performing in musicals, and he also enjoys playing bass, guitar and the ukulele.  He recently played Dennis in a local film called “Dark Grounds Witch.” He is very excited to join the cast of Godspell!





Kellie MacGowanKellie MacGowan (Celisse) is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, but currently resides in Wakarusa, Indiana.  As a 17 year old home school student, she loves to spend her free time acting, singing, sewing and training in four different styles of dance (ballet, tap, jazz and modern).  Kellie is also very active at Elkhart Civic Theatre.
Hope you enjoy the show!








Michelle MillerMichelle Miller (Uzo) recently graduated from Bethel College in Mishawaka with a degree in Vocal Performance.  She plans to pursue her career in theater in the Chicago area.  Her recent roles include Gertrude in Seussical and Sister Berthe in The Sound of Music, both at Bethel.  She has also played Annelle in Steel Magnolias and an Ensemble member in Les Misérables at South Bend Civic Theatre, as well various other musical and non-musical roles.  She would like to thank her parents for continuing to support her in all her crazy endeavors.






Joelle RassiJoelle Rassi (Morgan) is from Milford, IN and is so pleased to be returning for her fourth season at the Round Barn.  She loved being Gingy in Shrek and Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank.  She will be a freshman in Show Choir this coming fall.  She loves singing, dancing, acting, and she spends all of her spare time song writing.








Aria SkaggsAria Skaggs (Lindsay) is a Northwood High School Junior, where she is actively involved in music performance as a member of Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Dawning Generation Show Choir, Concert Choir, and various musicals.  Besides her love for music, she also has a passion for Cheer, and is part of the Northwood Competition Cheer team, which won a state title last year.  Along with a busy activity and school schedule, Aria loves spending time with family, singing on the worship team at church, going on mission trips, and being around animals.  She has also been active at RBT in the Joseph Stein Young Actors Studio, and in the 2012 TYA of A Christmas Carol.

Travis SmithTravis Smith (Jesus) is thankful to be back for his 6th season here at Amish Acres. Not only has he music directed practically every show in the last 6 years, but he has also been seen as a performer. Favorite roles include Lord Farquaad in Shrek, Sister Amnesia in Nunsense A-Men and the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. He is also a composer and arranger having written many shows through out the last few years including Steeple People: A Southern Gospel Comedy which made its debut at Amish Acres. Many of the children's shows he has written and collaborated on are seen and even performed by thousands of kids every year.
For more info please visit www.travis-smith.com. Thank you for supporting live theatre!!


Bradley WaelbroeckBradley M. Waelbroeck (Telly) recently graduated from University of Memphis with a BFA in Theatre with a concentration in Musical Theatre. He has been involved in theatre at various capacities both onstage and backstage. He was recently Assistant Stage Manager for The Wedding Singer at University of Memphis. He has also been seen onstage as Young Katurian in The Pillowman, Chip Tolentino in 25th...Spelling Bee, and in Chess as Ensemble.

 

 

 

 

Staff Biographies

Brian Bell (Drums) is excited to be making his return to The Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres for the 2015 season. He is from Nappanee and is the Webmaster for Amish Acres and also works in the accounting department. Brian holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Ashland University (2004) and a Master of Music degree from Ohio University (2007). At Ashland University, he played percussion for musicals including Godspell and The Fantasticks. Brian taught music for five years in the public school system where he was the music director for the high school musicals conducting the pit orchestra for Seussical and Copacabana. While teaching, his instrumental groups earned many honors and Superior ratings in Ohio Music Education Association Adjudicated Events.

David Brennan (Music Director) is a resident of Elkhart, IN, and  serves in a variety of positions within the musical spectrum of the Michiana area and beyond.  David began working as a church pianist and organist at the age of 13, and by age 15 he had received stable playing positions at several places of worship.  As a choral accompanist, he has accompanied groups at 10 local Michiana schools, including Indiana University South Bend where he served as accompanist for almost four years. During that time and in the years following, he collaborated with the South Bend Symphonic Choir and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, and he recently performed at Lincoln Center in NYC under the direction of Dr. Scott Buchanan. Aside from his work as an accompanist, David is also an experienced teacher, actively preparing vocal and instrumental ensembles and soloists at the middle and high school levels in preparation for annual local and state competitions.  Additionally, he has worked with many high school students and young adults in theatrical performances for local schools and for the South Bend Civic Theatre and the Round Barn Theatre, serving as accompanist, assistant director, and musical director/conductor for numerous shows.  David has a Bachelor of Music Education with licensure to teach general, choral, and instrumental music for grades K-12, and he currently works as a choir director and a piano and AP Music Theory instructor at Elkhart Memorial High School. He hopes that his work as a director, performer, and composer/arranger will be a continual source of inspiration for him in his musical career.

Amber Burgess
(Costume Designer) is pleased to be back at the Round Barn Theater for the 2015 season.  She has been involved in theater (acting, costuming, and directing) since 1988.  Amber studied musical theater at Millikin University in Decatur, IL and also has a BA in Social Sciences (with an emphasis in theater research) from Ashford University.  Amber has formerly worked as a costume designer with the Cincinnati Costume Company, Top Hat Productions (Marshall, MI), Cincinnati Landmark Productions, The Little Theater (Jamestown, ND), Millikin University (Decatur, IL), LaMoure County Theater (ND), and The Joseph Jefferson Playmakers (Jamestown, ND).  She was taught to sew as a child by her grandmother Jan Christopherson, and was taught dress making by her aunts Betsy Davis and Susan Ely.  When not at work she enjoys quilting, running, writing, and reading. To view a portforlio, or inquire about costume rentals, visit www.amberburgess.com.

Jeremy Littlejohn (Director / Choreographer) grew up right down the road in Elkhart, Indiana, and came to work at Amish Acres for the first time in 1997. Since becoming Artistic Director in 2007, he has supervised over sixty productions in seven seasons. Some of his recent favorites include Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair, Driving Miss Daisy, Nunsense A-Men, The Wizard of Oz, Little Shop of Horrors and Doubt. Jeremy created the Second Stage Series you will be enjoying this evening. The program brought plays to Amish Acres for the first time in 2004 and recently added musicals to its repertoire in 2014. He also enjoys working on the Theatre for Young Audience series, and he has shed light on more than thirty RBT productions. He loves his lady, his family, his kitty, and he is so pleased to be spending another season in Nappanee! 

Richard Pletcher (Executive Producer) founded Amish Acres with his father, LaVern in 1968. The Amish farm was preserved and restored, and is now listed in The National Register of Historic Places. Following a one year experiment with dinner theatre in 1971, he added musical theatre to the farm's historic interpretation by producing Plain and Fancy in the Locke Township Meeting House in 1986. It moved to its permanent residence in The Round Barn Theatre in 1992. The musical has been running for 28 consecutive years, having surpassed 3,700 performances in front of over 355,000 audience members. Plain and Fancy's Tony Award® winning author Joseph Stein and Tony Award® winning composer Albert Hague have attended Plain and Fancy at Amish Acres.

At Joseph Stein’s urging, Amish Acres became a regional musical repertory theatre in 1996 with the addition of five shows in rotating repertory with Plain and Fancy each season. Amish Acres has now produced over 100 Broadway musicals and The Round Barn Theatre stage is named for and dedicated to Joseph Stein. Seven of Mr. Stein’s musicals have been produced at The Round Barn Theatre, including Plain and Fancy, Fiddler on the Roof, The Baker’s Wife, and Zorba, plus staged readings of Take Me Along, Rags, Carmelina and a Second Stage production of Enter Laughing.

In October of 2006, Dick and his wife Susan were guests of Joseph and Elisa Stein in New York City for the York Theatre’s Mufti Series production of Plain and Fancy, the last in a month long, three show festival of Stein’s work that included Take Me Along and Carmelina. Artistic Director James Morgan recognized Amish Acres’ 20 year production of Plain and Fancy in the program and in his introductions from the stage. The Pletchers’ and Jeremy Littlejohn attended the Oscar Hammerstein Lifetime Achievement Award in Musical Theatre for Joseph Stein at the York Theatre in 2007. Stein was further inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in February of 2008. He passed away in 2010 and the Joseph Stein Memorial Fund was created to provide free season tickets for children.

Tom Slavey (Bass / Technical Director) was born and raised in Bremen, Indiana.  Upon graduation from Bremen High School, Tom moved to Los Angeles to pursue and enhance his love of music.  While in California, he learned carpentry, and started his own Construction business, while playing his music at night in the clubs of Hollywood and Orange County.  He moved back to Indiana to be of service to his immediate family, and to start his own. He has played Bass for RBT productions of Little Shop of Horrors and The Marvelous Wonderettes.