Monett Artists’ Guild to present ‘Godspell’ starting July 13

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
The set of the Monett Artists’ Guild’s production of ‘Godspell,’ with Drake Thomas of Cassville in the role of Jesus. Murray Bishoff/Cassville Democrat

Performances next weekend at performing arts center

Stephen Schwartz’s musical “Godspell” will be the summer production of the Monett Artists’ Guild, coming to the Monett High School Performing Arts Center next weekend.

Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Cost is $10 at the door.

Todd Borgmann makes his directorial debut with the show. An actor in past shows and musical director of the Ozark Festival Orchestra, Borgmann has chosen the 2012 Broadway revival of the show, which has some additions from the 1971 original and updates on some of the cultural references.

“This is not going to be your 1970s ‘Godspell,’” Borgmann said. “We’ve taken the bright rainbows out of it, but not completely. There are no clowns in this one, unlike the clown makeup in the original.”

Borgmann noted that while the original was set in a playground, he chose to place this production in a train station, a worn train station, which serves as a center for reviving spirit. There are suitcases sitting around and plans for a big Frisco Railroad sign, making the setting that much more familiar to the Monett community.

“The whole idea behind it is building community from people of all walks of life,” Borgmann said. “There’s a school teacher and a veteran. You get to see how their characters develop from individuals to a cohesive community by the end of the show.”

Borgmann is drawing on the experience of Marilyn Mann, manager of the performing arts center, who has directed the original “Godspell” several times. Meg Aleshire has done choreography for the show. Theresa Borgmann is again working as stage manager.

The show has a diverse cast of 10 led by Drake Thomas, of Cassville, as Jesus, and has David Everett, of Aurora, a past bass soloist in the Ozark Festival Orchestra’s performance of “Messiah.” Everett plays both John the Baptist at the opening of the show, and Judas for the rest of it.

“The songs are parables,” Borgmann said. “Every character has a particular role in leading these parables, which includes a song, which leads them on their journey to becoming disciples. They’re all good. Everyone has the opportunity to steal the show. They put a lot of energy into it. It needs to be an energetic show, a playful take on the parables of the Bible. I kept coming back to the idea of building that community, the thing I think we need a bit more of than before.”

Orchestration for the show has been updated with a heavier rock emphasis. The band will appear on stage throughout the show, playing on the train station roof.

“That was part of the vision I had from the beginning,” Borgmann said. “I didn’t want to hide the musicians. I wanted it to be kind of like a concert and let the audience see them doing things.

“It’s coming together well. We’ve still got a week of rehearsals before opening. Everyone’s working really hard. There are some very touching moments toward the end, just because of the story and the way it’s set and the staging and music.”

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