Greensburg Central Catholic students sing and strut ‘Godspell’

April 26, 2018 GMT

As Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School students take the stage during a rehearsal for “Godspell,” their spring musical, performing arts teacher and musical director Joette Salandro checks lighting, sound and actor positions.

It’s her 27th year directing, and the second time for “Godspell.”

“I love the show. I love the music. I wanted to give a lot of kids the chance to shine, and this show does that,” Salandro says.

The ensemble requires a cast and crew of about 40, with students in grades seven through twelve participating.

Show times are 7 p.m. April 27 and noon and 7 p.m. April 28 at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center, 951 Old Salem Road.

Tickets are $10 and available at the door.

Under Salandro’s direction, the cast will bring to life the story featuring a series of parables, based primarily on the Gospel of Matthew, interspersed with modern music set largely to lyrics from traditional hymns.

Among the most well-known songs are “Day by Day” and “Learn Your Lessons Well.”

Junior Zachary Gilkey has the role of Jesus, a lead he hoped to play.

“I really wanted to be Jesus. It’s a really awesome show. The message is really powerful,” he says.

As he sings the angry “Alas For You,” he stalks the stage, condemning the hypocritical behavior he sees.

Maria Beer, a senior, plays Sonia/Mary Magdalene, and does a number with a boa in front of the Jesus character while singing “Turn Back O Man.”

“I’ve been doing musical theater for a long time. I really enjoy it. This is the first time I’ve done ‘Godspell.’ The singing and dancing is probably my favorite part,” she says.

Jen Hantz, a senior, notes one of the quirks of the original musical was that performers used their own names, something she does in this performance as well.

One of the parables she enacts is where a master forgives his servant’s debt, only to have that servant demand payment from another man who owes him money.

She also sings “O Bless the Lord My Soul.”

“I started doing musicals in fifth grade. There is so much community, and knowing everybody. We have so many traditions. It’s much like a family, so I didn’t want to miss that,” she says.

Senior Ashley Ustazewski plays Socrates in the prologue and sings one of the musical’s most beloved songs, “Day by Day.”

She’s acted in many of the school’s fall plays and spring musicals, and is happy with the choice for her final high school performance.

″(Godspell) is eclectic. It’s different from anything I’ve done here. It’s a lot of fun,” she says.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.