MONMOUTH — All the best of community theater can be expected in the upcoming production of “Godspell” by Monmouth Community Players.

“Godspell” is definitely family-friendly,” said director Penny E. Jaskalen. “I have wanted to direct this musical for many years. The wonderful message of the show is that individuals from all walks of life can become a community united in the effort to do good in the world.”
From its first success on Broadway in 1971, “Godspell” has been produced continually around the world.
Written by John-Michael Tebelak with music by Stephen Schartz, it tells stories of the gospels according to St. Matthew through music and dance. The original ground-breaking production advanced a relatively new musical format called rock opera. “Day By Day” is the show’s most familiar song. It reached high on popular music charts in the 1970s.
The cast includes some newcomers to the stage as well as several veterans who are willing mentors to actors and members of this production.
Actors range in age from 8 to  mid-60s. There are also real-life family dynamics with two mother-daughter teams.
“They have come together as a very special community of players,” Jaskalen said.
The play doesn’t specify a place for the story to unfold, so there’s lots of opportunity for creativity. For this production, Jaskalen said she chose not to use the styles of the hippy movement in the 1970s. Her cast is introduced in typical Maine attire such as flannel shirts and Bean boots. They change into traditional tunics as they act out several of Christ’s parables.
Among the musical numbers are “Day by Day,” “Prepare Ye,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “Beautiful City,” and “Light of the World.”
Jeffrey A. Fairfield portrays Jesus. He has been in several area musical productions, including last year’s “Fiddler on the Roof” with MCP.
The roles of John the Baptist and Judas are performed by Troy Bisson. He is a sophomore at Leavitt Area High School, Turner, and has been performing for seven years.
Other principal players go by their own first names. They are Gregor Smith, Colleen Mahan, who is also music director, Andy Tolman, Emma Vierling, Josie French, Emily Trefethen and Karen Lipovsky.
Appearing in the ensemble of citizens are Kyla Wallace, Cindy Dunham, Linda Easterbrooks, John Plasse, Teresa Easterbrooks, Jenna Roy, Adria Hughes and Justin Foglietta.
The band for the performances consists of keyboards, guitar, bass guitar and drums.
This is the first show Jaskalen has directed for MCP. She has been involved in some aspect of theatre for more than 40 years. She taught music and theatre K-12 in public schools until her retirement in 2013, and she has directed many shows including “West Side Story,” “Grease,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
Jaskalen has been involved in all aspects of theatre and she served as head costumer for Community Little Theatre in Auburn for 12 years. She has also appeared on stage in CLT productions including “Company,” “Damn Yankees,” “Nunsense,” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” She recently appeared in “The Diviners” with Monmouth Community Players.
Adam P. Blais, MCP artistic director, is choreographer for “Godspell.”
Performances of “Godspell” are at Cumston Hall, Monmouth, at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, April 4-5 and 11-12, and at 2 p.m. Sundays, April 6 and 13.
Prices are adults $14, students and seniors $12. For tickets call 838-3006 or go to www.monmouthcommunityplayers.com.


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