Sat. May 25th, 2024

West Chester University’s Theatre and Dance Department debuts their second production of the season this weekend; one you definitely want to see. The Department mounted the 2012 revival of “Godspell” as their musical this year and performances begin this week.
“Godspell” is a long-standing musical classic with songs written by the famous Stephen Schwartz (composer of “Wicked” and “Pippin”). Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, “Godspell” tells a story of friendship, loyalty, and love. If you haven’t seen it before, now is your chance. “Godspell” originally dates back to the 1970’s, but it is the modern revival of the show starting its run on campus this Friday.
So what can audiences expect from the show? “The revival is not as ‘folksy’ as the original production” says Liz Staruch, director of the WCU Theatre and Dance Department’s “Godspell.” The original writers and songwriters of “Godspell” revamped the show in 2012, giving it a more contemporary sound for our modern times. “The orchestration has more rock and roll in this version, and the music composition is more difficult. There are much tighter harmonies,” Staruch elaborated. But the difficulty of the show has yet to slow Staruch, the production team, cast and crew as they hurtle towards the premier date.
Bringing in outside design elements from Philadelphia guest artists, Staruch provides her design team students with the opportunity to collaborate with professional artists. Both Theatre majors and Dance minors combine to form the power production team steering WCU’s “Godspell.” Annie Walters oversees the show’s props, Adam Foizen designs and engineers the show, Kayla Parkinson oversees the production as the Stage Manager, while Gia Salerno, Alison Sharp, and Jeremiah Bean work side-by-side with Staruch, the two former as Assistant Choreographers and the latter as Assistant Director.
The production team’s first meeting was held in the 30th Street Train Station in Philly, the inspiration for “Godspell’s” set. “We wanted a setting where all walks of life converge, where people are under constant surveillance – much like Jesus and the Apostles were – and where technology is everywhere. We like the idea of social media and how pervasive it is in our lives” Staruch explains.
However, the show does not totally deviate from its psychedelic roots. “Godspell” includes subtle nods to previous productions of the musical, like the rainbow coloring incorporated into the set alluding the original 1970’s grease paint style. Upon being asked if she has any favorite moments in WCU’s production Staruch smiled and replied: “There are a couple surprises I hope the audience enjoys.” What you may ask? You will have to buy a ticket and see for yourself.
“Godspell” runs Oct. 18, 19, 24, 25, and 26 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. Ticket prices range from $12 to $15, and can be bought at the Bull Center Box Office (open from 1pm to 3pm Monday-Thursday), by calling 610-436-2533, or online at
Janice Rabian is a first-year student majoring in theatre performance. She can be reached at

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