April 24, 2017
Arts & Entertainment
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  • The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
    Alena Carhart
    The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
  • The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
    Alena Carhart
    The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
  • The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
    Alena Carhart
    The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
  • The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
    Alena Carhart
    The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
  • The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.
    Alena Carhart
    The goal of “Godspell” is to bring unity and love to the community. “I hope they [the audience] feel the power the message of the gospel can bring into their lives and into the lives of everyone around them … I think the show will bring people closer together,” said the show’s director, David Merrill.

A Look Into Woods Church’s Production Of “Godspell”

Alena Carhart
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April 4, 2017

Woods Brings Teachings To Life With Its First Musical

From the Bible to the stage, Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church is combining faith with passion in its production of “Godspell,” set for April 6 to April 9. With the goal of bringing a sense of community to the church, husband-and-wife duo David and Elysha Merrill decided to arrange the church’s first musical.

“This is an outreach, both for the church and the community … This could bring someone closer to Christ,” said director David Merrill.

With music by Stephen Schwartz, “Godspell” is based on the Book of Matthew, and it presents the story of Jesus from his baptism to his death through a series of parables. “It's a funny conglomeration of parables that Jesus told, and he’s teaching this whole cast of people what it means to follow him and to love Jesus,” summarized Elysha Merrill, assistant director and choreographer. “The end cumulates in this death; he has given you and he leaves you with a sense of community and love.”

After opening auditions to people both within and outside of the church, Woods staff members found their cast, which consists of 23 people ranging from ages 12 to 70. For their rendition of the show, they gathered old, random costumes to give the show a candid appearance.

“We all have our own characters; like there’s a jogger, an emo [person] and a hippie in the beginning,” said cast member Annabelle Cotton. In the original Broadway production, the cross was an electric fence, but Woods “made the cross out of a monkey bar set,” according to Elysha Merrill.

Another unique aspect of the show is the widespread involvement of families. “I will remember the joy of watching my son, [David Merrill], put this together and my daughter-in-law, [Elysha Merrill], with this choreography,” said the eldest cast member and David’s mother, Jane Merrill. “You are never too old to come out and have fun. My favorite thing is the youth; their energy brings a smile to my face, watching all the kids.”

The director of contemporary music at Woods, Sarah Kent, not only gets to serenade audiences with a few songs, but she will also cherish the stage with her son, Aaron. “My favorite part, frankly, is getting to do this with my son, Aaron, who is playing Jesus. Just the fact that it is a multigenerational cast is a lot of fun,” said Kent, who described the show as having a cool message. “Even if you don’t have the same religious kind of feelings or beliefs, it is still a positive show with the message of community and working together,” she said.

Tickets are free, but reservations are required either through www.godspellwmpc.com or through the church at 410-647-2550. The show runs from April 6 to April 9, and all shows are at 7:00pm.


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