Iron Bridge Theatre presents ‘Godspell’

Courtesy photo Actors in the Iron Bridge Theatre’s presentation of “Godspell” are, from left, Dana Cooper, Natalie Rupp, Dominick Faith, Alexandra Shephard, Brendan Duquette, Mikayla Harrington, Jeffrey Tierney and Earl Cooper. Not pictured is cast member Joe Cantanzaro.

The Iron Bridge Theatre in Tyrone is once again preparing to wow audiences with its upcoming dinner theater production of “Godspell.” The performance of the musical by Stephen Schwartz and the book by John-Michael Tebelak will delve into religious themes during the Lenten and Easter seasons.

Although the musical is spiritual, it will capture the hearts of secular and non-secular audience goers by incorporating themes of love relevant in today’s world.

“Someone who is religious or non-religions and people from all areas will enjoy the show. It’s from the ’70s and is wildly funny. It is not strictly biblical; there are themes of overall love, encouragement and joy. These are very important themes, especially in in our world today,” said Mikayla Harrington, an actress from Huntingdon.

Along with those important themes, respect is one additionally reflected in “Godspell.” “It feels as the show really portrays a basic human understanding of how to treat other people without having to read the Bible. The show teaches audience members how to treat other people through love and to respect the world. It’s a good family show for all ages,” said Brendan Duquette, from Massachusetts, who plays Jesus in this production.

Harrington echoed the notion that the musical is not about classroom instruction or religious principles, but rather about lighthearted wisdom.

She said, “It’s a little bit of church instead of a straight lesson. The lessons are taught on laughs and learning ways to be good to everyone. If you’re non-religious or religious you’ll see that reconnecting to religion is cool.”

Jeffrey Tierney, an actor from New York City who is in the show agreed. “One of the great things about this show is that if you’re not religious — or you grew up religious and grew out of the church — the show is very easy to follow and may make you fall in love with the context of religions. There’s lots of negativity on the news, but this show is beautiful and even more so with the music,” he said.

The story is easy for anyone to follow and centers on love, forgiveness, Jesus and his disciples.

“It’s basically the story of Jesus and his disciples and a lot of parables from the Bible around the Passion story. It tells the story of being betrayed by Judas and the crucifixion. These people are coming together to form this tribe of family and love while learning the works of Jesus, down to loving your neighbor as yourself,” Tierney said.

“Godspell” was first seen by audiences when the production opened off Broadway in 1971, and then saw a revival on Broadway in 2011.

The show can be conceived in many settings, and the Iron Bridge team set this production in an outside situation.

“The whole show is set in a backyard barbecue. That’s the beauty of the show; it can be put into any setting,” said Drew Baker, director.

The dinner for “Godspell” reflects a barbecue meal. The chef, Marie Turchetta, created a buffet menu that will include fresh greens salad, carrot-raisin salad, fruit salad, a cheese plate, balsamic green beans, hot German potato salad, chef’s meat and pasta bake, pork BBQ, hamburger soup, chef’s choice soup and German chocolate cake.

In addition to a tasty meal, the audience should prepare to be taken on an upbeat journey of love and change, perfect for the transformational Lenten and Easter seasons.

In a press release Baker stated, “While the musical is super fun, talks of love and speaks to how we can work with one another in today’s world, we must make no mistake that the heart of the Gospel is also included, the piece that is often dismissed. Jesus himself came to earth to make His mark on society for all time, to sacrifice Himself so that we have the promise of life eternal. While the crucifixion is not the major point of this production, it is there and is handled reverently. We want all to come and experience a new and fun telling of the Gospel while also being moved to life changing challenges that are brought forth in the story.”

If you go

What: “Godspell”

When: April 10 to April 28 plus a noon matinee April 16. No performances on April 13, 19 or 21.

Where: The Iron Bridge Dinner Theatre, Tyrone

Admission: Dinner & Theatre: $43 for adults, $33 for students (ages 13-16), $23 for children (12 and under). Must call the box office for tickets at 505-2551

More information: Visit www.ironbridgetheatre.com

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