Cast readies for performance of 'GODSPELL'

May 27, 2017 by

Kate Day Sager, Reporter for The Bradford Era

Nicholas Youngs, front left, and Skyler Schapp rehearse a number from the upcoming Bradford Little Theatre production of the 2012 revival of  “Godspell” at Togi’s Playhouse in Bradford. The production, which has actors from Pennsylvania and New York state, will be staged June 15-18 at St. Bernard School in Bradford.

Some of the actors in Bradford Little Theatre’s production of “Godspell” view the musical as such a “coveted” show that they are willing to travel to be in the performance.

Organizers said that because of the show’s popularity, as well as directing provided by Eric Van Druff of Olean, N.Y., the cast of Godspell comprises a mixture of Pennsylvania and New York state talent.

The show will be staged at 7:30 p.m. June 15, 16 and 17, and 2 p.m. June 18 at the St. Bernard School gym at 450 W. Washington St. Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.

“I actually did the very first production of BLT, “ Van Druff said during rehearsal at Togi’s Playhouse, the theater company’s headquarters on Welch Avenue. “At the time it was at (the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford) in the old O’Kain Auditorium.”

Van Druff said he also directed “Godspell” for BLT 12 years ago, as well as another musical for the company. After the musical opened off Broadway in 1971 it became a huge hit. The show was updated and revived with a modernized score and opened on Broadway in 2012. The musical depicts Jesus’s life and eventual persecution through parables from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Popular songs featured include “Day by Day,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “Beautiful City” and “All for the Best.”

As for the local production, Van Druff said the performers hail from communities and theater groups throughout the Twin Tiers.

“The one thing I’ve always tried to promote is that theater is not just in little pockets and we should try to share,” Van Druff explained. “A lot of our (New York state) folks come here, and a lot of (Pensylvania) folks go to Olean” for Olean Community Theatre and Olean Theatre Workshop.

Van Druff said the cast is doing well in creating an entertaining show. He said the St. Bernard gymnatorium will be used for the show because it offers a larger venue.

“We’re hoping this show will help establish (BLT) so they can do larger shows,” Van Druff added.

Shane Oschman, a resident of Bradford who is playing the role of Jesus, said he is pleased that “Godspell” is being produced with a regional cast. Oschman noted that he has performed in several productions in New York state, as well.

“You don’t get to do “Godspell” in your life very often, so when we get a chance” performers jump at the opportunity, Oschman continued. “Having Eric come over (to Bradford) to direct this also has drawn some people over from Olean. It’s a really fun show and we’re adding a whole bunch of clips and fun activities to try and keep it fresh.

Originally posted in The Bradford Era: