(COVINGTON, La.) Tickets are now on sale for the Marian Players’ special production of “GODSPELL,” a musical following the events and parables of the Gospel of Matthew. The play will be held in the Alumni Memorial Theater at St. Paul’s School, and the show opens on March 14 and runs through March 25.
Director Denny Charbonnet typically runs productions of GODSPELL within a five-year cycle (with one show every five years) so that every generation of St. Paul’s students has an opportunity to see it. However, this year’s production is special in that it falls outside of that cycle.
“It is the right show at this time,” Charbonnet said, noting how much meaning this production has held for both her and her daughter, Elise Angelette, who works with Charbonnet on costuming and choreography for the school productions.
For several years, Charbonnet has been a soldier in Angelette’s ongoing battle with breast cancer.
“I had the sense that God was telling me that this was the show for this year, especially where I am in my home life with my family and with my daughter, it feels like the perfect healing show for right now,” Charbonnet said. “The message is incredible; you can’t beat it. We’re dealing with scripture in a way that is fun, funny, and has a dynamite message, and the music is fantastic. With all of that put together, it’s just the right show at the right time.”
According to Charbonnet, GODSPELL has lasting effects on those involved in it.
“It’s a show that I love to work on and I love to watch,” Charbonnet said. “I love to watch the cast work with it and realize what it’s actually saying; it’s a lightbulb moment when they realize what it actually means. If you’ve been in GODSPELL, you never see church readings the same way again because you hear them with the GODSPELL perspective. It brings them home, which I think is a true gift.”
This year, auditions drew a crowd of almost 90 people. The full cast features 75 people, making it the largest ever for a Marian Players production of GODSPELL. Charbonnet was not surprised by the show’s popularity.
“People love it,” Charbonnet said, “It’s a show they can all relate to. The nature of the message, the nature of the music and I think really just the feel of the show – it’s such a powerfully positive show that it brings out the best in people. In each cast, the individual brings something new to the roll and gives me a fresh perspective on the show. The cast this year are absolutely fantastic: really talented, really cooperative, great attitudes.”
The starring role of Jesus will be played by Christian Butler, a two-year veteran of the Marian Players.
“I’m really excited about playing Jesus,” Butler said. “I really love the entire theater group, and it’s great to be able to hand something down to them as a senior. I love all of the St. Paul’s plays that I’ve done, but I think that this is probably my favorite.”
In addition to Butler, the cast includes Isaac Hebert as Socrates, Josh Rovira as Thomas Aquinas, Luke Vargas as Martin Luther, Ceci Falkenstein as Da Vinci, Alexandra Schneider as Gibbon, Caleb Frost as Sartre, Brady Meibaum as Nietzsche, John Baglow as Buckminster Fuller and Jacob Eilers as John the Baptist.
The ensemble cast includes Trevor Achee, Jude Angelette, Jack Blossman, Evan Carse, Tyler Chelena, Briggs Cooper, Colin Cottrell, Jesse Dufour, Trey Harkins, Bennett Hayes, Sean Hightower, Ryan Hill, Cameron Holmes, Charles Hoy, Brady Meibaum, Justin McCleskey, Adrian Millan, Luke Paille, Alex Prokop, Elias Simpson, Gabe Simpson, Chris Wallace, Julia Albright, Abbey Aldridge, Bella Angelette, Naomi Angelette, Sophia Angelette, Margaret Baglow, Madeleine Bechac, Ella Bereziuk, Anna Kate Broussard, Chloe Charbonnet, Daphne Charbonnet, Olivia Charbonnet, Claire DiCorte, Elise Falkenstein, Maggie Guidry, Hagan Harkins, Samantha Harkins, Abby Hayes, Rebecca Henshaw, Sarah Hoerner, Anna Hummel, Kerrigan Jackson, Ellie Jambon, Kiley McDonnel, Paula Millan, Abby Miller, Rebekah Murphy, Heather O’Mahoney, Mina Perkins, Grace Pierson, Abigail Pittman, Tanner Rapier, Helen Robinson, Isabel Rodriguez, Amanda Scheyd, Alexandra Schneider, Grace Seghers, Hannah Simpson, Sophie Simpson, Tori Swanner, Bella Vargas, Christina Vicari, Kaitlin Vicari, Ellie Wright and Katie Wright.
The crew includes Assistant/Technical Director Barrett Baumgartner; Musical Director Bro. Ken Boesch, FSC; Set Coordinator Michael Boudreaux; Dance Captain Kerrigan Jackson; Music Assistant Charles Legendre; Stage Manager Jonathan Wellmeyer; Follow Spot Operators Max Anderson, Caden Chitwood, Callan Danenhower and Miquel Seruntine; Vocal Coach Shawn Patterson; and Set Artists John Carambat, Michael Boudreaux, Barrett Baumgartner, Julia Albright, Christian Butler, Chloe Charbonnet, Claire DiCorte, Jacob Eilers, Kevin Eilers, Caleb Frost, Trey Harkins, Abby Hayes, Bennett Hayes, Isaac Hebert, Leon Hebert, Macey Hebert, Brady Meibaum, Chris Pierson, Isabel Rodriquez, Josh Rovira, Stephanie Ruli, Alexandria Schneider and Luke Vargas.
Additional credits include Costume Design by Elise Angelette; Lightning Design by Ellen Lipkos; Costume Construction by Evette Thatcher and Renee Sibley; Choreography originally choreographed by Rosemerry Hanian, adapted for 2018 by Elise Angelette; Light Board operation by Johnathan Wellmeyer; Poster Design by Blake Franklin; Photography by Lester Guttuso; and Artistic Design (set floor) by John Carambat.
Tickets for GODSPELL can be purchased from St. Paul’s by calling (985) 892-3200 ext. 1000, or from Braswell’s Drugs by calling (985) 892-0818. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on March 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23 and 24, with matinee performances at 3 p.m. on March 18 and 25. The performance on March 24 is primarily reserved for Marian Player alumni, but any unsold seats will be opened to the public closer to the event. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.
GODSPELL was conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak, with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It was originally produced on the New York Stage by Edgar Lansbury, Stuart Duncan and Joseph Beruh. The music for “By My Side” was written by Peggy Gordon, and its lyrics were written by Jay Hamburger.