'Godspell' offers fun and faith

 

May 3, 2024

Judas (Joel Barta), at left, and Jesus (Jayce Koskela) manage quite a bit of song and dance and repartee during rehearsal for the New Wine production of "Godspell," which begins Wednesday at Zion Lutheran Church in Cloquet.

Get your dancing shoes on because New Wine is putting on a party, with Jesus and Judas as the two main characters in an updated version of "Godspell."

"Godspell" is a (mostly) joyful musical that tells the story of the Book of Matthew and many of the parables through song.

"All the songs are just full of energy, except for a couple tearjerkers," said musical director Jennifer Osborne. Many people will recognize the songs, including "Day by Day" and "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord," plus at least a dozen others. Spoiler alert: Jesus does die in

the end.

Director Amanda Olsen said it's her favorite musical.

"I think it kind of explains what New Wine is really about," Olsen said. "It's a community of people coming together for a purpose: to praise God and follow Jesus's teachings. It's always so fun to have the kids come together as that community, both in the play and outside the play."

The cast includes 30-plus teenagers in grades 9-12 from Esko, Cloquet, Proctor, Carlton and more. Different schools, different denominations of Christianity and different religions, all are welcome, Olsen said.

The two directors select "Godspell" about every five years, which allows each generation of actors to experience the magic. The challenge lies in updating the barebones script, originally written in the 1970s.

"You have to make it funny and interesting," Olsen said. "In this one we have a lot of jokes about TikTok and Taylor Swift. There's a rap song, all kinds of current things to make it fun."

Osborne said she likes that all the kids come out really knowing the Book of Matthew, "which I think is really important," she said.

Performances start at 7 p.m. May 8, 9, 10, 12, 18, 19 and 10:30 a.m. May 11 at Zion Lutheran Church, 1000 Washington Ave. in Cloquet. The $15 ticket price includes dessert and beverage during intermission. Purchase tickets at newwine.ludus.com or at the door. Performances are inside the church at 1000 Washington Ave. in Cloquet. Call Zion at 218-879-4647 with questions.

 
 

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