Jesus meets Taylor Swift: UD’s ‘Godspell’ at Roger Glass Center for the Arts



The University of Dayton presents John-Michael Tebelak and “Wicked” composer Stephen Schwartz’s beloved 1971 biblical musical “Godspell” Apr. 19-21 in the Experimental Theatre of the Roger Glass Center for the Arts.

Using the Gospel According to St. Matthew as its colorful foundation, “Godspell” is told through skits nestled within Schwartz’s terrific score. Songs include “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Day by Day,” “All Good Gifts,” “Light of the World,” and the gorgeous ballad “Beautiful City.”

“We decided to set the show in the present day with a concert/festival vibe,” said director Andrea Chenoweth Wells. “I was thinking about the Taylor Swift phenomenon, her ‘Eras Tour’ and the rabid fandom around her persona. I was particularly drawn to the friendship bracelets her fans wear. So, the tokens that Jesus hands out to his disciples are friendship bracelets, which is the way they connect with each other. The cast is so excited.”



“Godspell” marks the inaugural theatrical production for the Glass Center, which had its grand opening Apr. 13. Wells is excited the construction timeline worked in the show’s favor. The Experimental Theatre holds 218 people, offering a very intimate experience.

“You don’t need a lot of spectacle to make great theater,” Wells said. “With the opening of our new Roger Glass Center for the Arts, we weren’t really sure what we were going to have access to or when. So, we thought this would be the perfect inaugural show because it could work with very little or a lot, depending on where we were with the construction process and the opening process. The set is very spare and the (atmosphere reflects) the relationships and the community the cast has built with each other and (the relationships in) the larger UD community.”



The cast includes Megan Carlson, Kaitlyn Crowell, Anna Delaney, Luke DeVilliers, Katarina Lagodzinski, Samantha McIntyre, Dylan Reynolds, Henry Riesbeck, Trinity Rice, Charlotte Silvidi, Connor Veal, and Darian Watson. Production team includes music director and conductor David Sievers, choreographer Jennifer Sydor, scenic designer Rachel Robinson, costume designer Chloe Cappuccilli, lighting designer Ben Remke, sound designer Sarah Theewis, technical director Eric Moore, assistant conductor Brendan Ash, rehearsal pianist John Benjamin, and artistic directors Minnita Daniel-Cox and Michelle Hayford. The band is comprised of the aforementioned Ash and Benjamin as well as Evan Fiehrer, Hayden Floro and Johnny Sebastian.

Wells hopes audiences will be encouraged by the show’s timeless and timely message of unity and reconciliation.

“The main takeaway is that one person can change the world,” she said. “And it only takes one person’s vision and the willingness of others to follow along to really effect major change. (Due) to so much division in our current political climate, I was drawn to a show that preached the concept of unity and being able to get past things that are different.”


What: “Godspell”

Where: The Roger Glass Center for the Arts, 29 E. Creative Way, Dayton

When: Apr. 19-21; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $12

Tickets/more info:

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