‘Godspell’ to weave its spell again in Conkling Hall

Holy water: John the Baptist (Kee McCollum) baptizes Jesus (Kevin Ruby).

RENSSELAERVILLE — One of the most enduring and popular musicals of the last half-century — and some think one of the most meaningful — will receive a 2016 treatment in a new production staged in Rensselaerville the next three weekends.

Rensselaerville Stage Creations is mounting the 1971 musical “Godspell” in Conkling Hall.  Based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, the creators of Godspell sought to retell the Gospel story in a contemporary way relevant to those turbulent times of war and antiwar protest, and through a series of memorable songs composed by Stephen Schwartz.

The local production seeks to affirm its relevance to our day with some timely updating. Donald Trump, for example, gets mentioned. And the street people are even grittier than in the original : a melange of social outcasts — drugs addicts, hookers—  sorely in need of hope.

Colleen Rosenblatt, co-producer with her sister Tara McCormick-Hostash, says this raggle-taggle group of seven, once baptized, gradually doff their old selves. “They become, you could, say a vaudeville or circus troupe,” celebrating and entertaining.

Against this background, the story of Jesus, played  by Kevin Ruby, plays out. The two other principal figures — both played by Kee McCollum — are John the Baptist and Judas Iscariot.
The chorus of new converts sing a joyful song.  From left are actors Devin Trager, Vivian Hwang, Olga Bogdanova, Tara McCormick-Hostash, Monet India, Isabelle Caffero, and John Rodney Turner.


Director and lighting director Matthew Teichner has helmed Godspell before. Frank Leavitt is the music director. Sean McCormick built the set, designed by Chrystie Stafford and featuring a ramp into the audience and scaffolding to the rear of the stage on which the live band will accompany well known  Schwartz songs like “Day by Day,” “Save the People,” and “By My Side.”  Marcus Rogers is the choreographer.

The cast members  are drawn from the Capital Region and beyond.

This is Rensselaerville Stage Creations’ first musical production. Rosenblatt says it marks a further step in the group’s evolution.


“Godspell” will be performed at 8 p.m.  the evenings of June 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18. And at 3 p.m. the afternoons of June 5, 12 and 19. Admission is $18 for adults and $15 for students and for individuals  18 and younger, and 60 and older.

To order tickets, 669-4250. Or, email rvillestagecreations@gmail.com. Conkling Hall is at 8 Methodist Hill Road in Rensselaerville.

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