SPARTA, NJ-  North Star Theater Company, in collaboration with Our Lady of the Lake Church in Sparta, presents the acclaimed Broadway musical “Godspell.” The musical will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Church on Friday, March 13 at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m., Sunday, March 15 at 3 p.m., and Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students 18 and below and senior citizens. Tickets are now on sale at www.northstar.booktix.com using credit card. Tickets can also be purchased at the door with cash and check. Our Lady of the Lake is located at 294 S Sparta Ave in Sparta. 

“We decided to collaborate with Our Lady of the Lake because of the message of community,” remarked Allison Ognibene, director of Godspell and board member of North Star Theater Company. “Our production has families performing together including a grandfather and grandson; husband and wife; two mothers and sons and three mothers and their daughters; it’s quite special.” 

“Godspell”  was conceived and originally directed by JOHN-MICHAEL TEBELAK MUSIC AND NEW LYRICS BY STEPHEN SCHWARTZ. The show features a parade of beloved songs, including "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord," "Learn Your Lessons Well," "All for the Best," "All Good Gifts," "Turn Back, O Man" and "By My Side.”

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Based on the Gospel of Matthew, “Godspell” is about a small group of people who help Jesus Christ tell different parables by using a wide variety of games, storytelling techniques and hefty doses of comic timing. An eclectic blend of songs, ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, is employed as the story of Jesus' life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus' messages of kindness, tolerance and love come vibrantly to life.

The North Star Theater Company production team includes Jodi Halteman of Andover, Producer; Allison Ognibene of Sparta, Director; Chrissy Fulmer of Pompton Lakes, Stage Manager; Dr. Deborah Gianuzzi of Newton, Music Director; Kelly Dacus-Smith of Sparta, Choreographer; John Kollar of Sparta, Technical Director; Scott Rogoff of Sparta, lighting designer; Chris Hara of Sparta, costumes; Rose Musto, props; Catalina Kollar of Sparta, Assistant Director, Sierra Trapanese, Assistant Choreographer.

The cast includes Sparta residents Nate Simmons as Jesus; Todd Smith as Judas; Matt Compa, Lillian Farrell, Brianna Conlon, Martha Conlon, AnMarie DeGiovanni, Paige DeGiovanni, Cassidy Faith Pry, Antoinette Downes; Andover residents Chris Motto as John the Baptist,  Eliza Halteman, and Jim McGovern; Newton resident Kimberly Jackson; Vernon resident Kim Knabb, and Louanne Bright of Montague.

“I love the camaraderie of this evolving community! Every person involved brings something special with warmth, energy, spirit and talent to spare,” remarked performer Kim Knabb.

This production of Godspell also has a special Godspell Choir for people who wanted to sing, whether they were past performers or wanting to be part of a show for the first time. The choir includes Sparta residents Dominick Bartolomeo, Dominick Bartolomeo Jr., Dorota Baszczij, Frank Belardo Walter Willwerth, Ellen Willwerth, Mary Stanek; Newton resident John Hilgart and Andover resident Katherine Korkidis and Jodi Halteman.  

The Godspell Musicians include Dr. Debbie Gianuzzi; Linda O’Connell of Hamburg on guitar; Kae DeGiovanni of Sparta on bass; Nick Cortese of Sparta on drums and Bob Musto of Sparta on synthesizer.

Father David McDonnell, the pastor of Our Lady of the Lake was receptive to bringing the Gospel of Matthew with the musical Godspell to the community.  He is even singing one of the songs. “It truly has been a positive experience for our cast and production team,” remarks Ognibene. “The show will occur during Lent and it will be on the altar so it will be very moving.”

 For those who practice Catholicism the Blessed Sacrament has been moved to another location during the performances and at certain rehearsals. “Godspell” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).  All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. The NSTC and OLL is supported in part by the Knights of Columbus. 

North Star Theater Company is in residence at Cornerstone Playhouse, in Sussex, New Jersey. North Star Theater Company provides an inclusive environment and a high-quality theatrical experience to Northwest New Jersey and the surrounding communities through the production of various dramas, comedies and musicals, while training and fostering the talents of all participants at any age and level of experience. Follow us at www.northstartheater.org and on facebook at @NorthStarTheater.