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Explore Cushing’s 5-week Summer Session programs
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Winter Musical: Godspell

Congratulations to the cast and crew of this year's winter musical, Godspell! The production -- which, by all reports, was excellent -- was a highlight of Winter Family Weekend. Many thanks to all who came out to support our performing arts students and faculty.

For additional photos, please click here.

Below are the program notes from Ms. Julia Ohm, Director and Performing Arts Chair

***

Godspell’s
 origins date back to 1970 as John Michael Tebelak’s Master’s thesis project. Under the direction of Lawrence Carra, at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it was performed in 1970 with several of the cast members from the Music Department. Tebelak then directed the show, with much of the student cast, for a two-week, ten-performance run at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club (aka Cafe la Mama), New York City, opening February 24, 1971. It was brought to the attention of producers Edgar Lansbury (brother of Angela Lansbury), Joseph Beruh, and Stuart Duncan by Carnegie alumnus Charles Haid (associate producer), who wanted to open it Off-Broadway.

The producers hired Stephen Schwartz, another alumnus of Carnegie Mellon’s theatre department, to write a new song score. Schwartz’s songs incorporated a variety of musical styles, from pop to folk rock, gospel, and vaudeville. 

I first directed this production at The Hun School of Princeton where I began my teaching career. At that time, Stuart Duncan, one of the original producers, was a local theatre reviewer and we came to know each other as I continued to work at Hun and also perform locally. He and his wife Petie were some of the first fans of the theatre company we established in Princeton, NJ. I remember him telling stories of Tebelak and the overalls he used to wear, presenting himself as somewhat of a disheveled hippie. I don’t think anyone ever expected this project to become the major hit that it has over the past three decades.

Revised in 2012, this version incorporates musical modernization (as Mr. Hindle likes to describe it, “a little Manhattan Transfer, RENT, Spring Awakening, Jesus Christ Superstar and pop a capella stirred together”).  This new score transports Godspell from a folky biblical project into a highly complicated and challenging work. Just as the original 70’s production brought an age-old story to a contemporary youth audience, the revised version speaks to yet another generation of youth who occupy a world that is vastly different on the surface but grounded in the same eternal truths of human existence.  We have enjoyed exploring it with our current cast and crew.
 
- Julia Ohm
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Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430
978-827-7000
admissions@cushing.org

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.

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