Join ISU Theatre in a celebration of community and love when it presents the musical "Godspell," opening Friday, April 5, in Fisher Theater. Using a variety of storytelling techniques and a hefty dose of comic timing, a diverse group of 21st-century college students encounter Jesus, who leads them through stories inspired by parables in the Bible's Book of Matthew.
The musical's setting is modern-day, as the performers journey from a discordant group of individuals into a community. The music features inspiring and entertaining songs ranging from pop and rock to vaudeville.
"Godspell" is about a community that comes together out of darkness to create a better tomorrow, said Keaton Lane, senior in journalism and mass communication, who plays the role of Jesus.
"There's a reason that these religious parables and lessons have been used for so long, and it's because they speak to something real and important about what it means to be a human and to struggle every day to be the best version of yourself that you can be," Lane said.
Emily Heckle, a senior in animal ecology cast as a storyteller, said the show's stories have universal relevance.
"Many of the stories included in this show are well-known, but hard to internalize in a present-day context," Heckle said. "Our cast and crew were challenged with the task of creating a work of art that respects the ideas and morals of these parables while making them applicable to a diverse crowd. By adapting the lessons for a modern audience, we are able to tell a story of inclusion, community and love."
The show dissolves hauntingly into the story of Jesus' last meal with his followers before his crucifixion. The new community must then ask what it will do with Jesus' message to make the world a better place.
Brad Dell, director of ISU Theatre the show's director, hopes the audience will be moved by its message of empathy and compassion.
"'Godspell' is an inspiring story for modern times," Dell said. "It's about working together and rising above for the common good and about loving your neighbor to make the world a better place. A central song in the show says, 'We will build a beautiful city, not a city of angels but a city of us.'"
"Godspell" evening performances are April 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances are April 7 and 14 at 2 p.m. All performances are in Fisher Theater.
Tickets are available through the Stephens Auditorium ticket office, Ticketmaster or the Fisher Theater box office prior to performances. Tickets are $25 for adults and seniors and $16 for students.