Concordia’s ‘Godspell’ based on a Jesus for all
Andrew Pastorius, (left), plays John the Baptis and Judas, and Kasey Ray plays Jesus in "Godspell" at Concordia University. | Photo by: Kevin D. Nortz
The Artists of Concordia Theatre, Bergmann Theatre, Concordia University Chicago, 7400 Augusta St., River Forest
7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, April 27-May 5
$12, $10 seniors and students with I.D.
(708) 209-3469 or visit www.cuchicago.edu
Updated: April 24, 2012 7:45PM
“Godspell” is filled with such memorable tunes as “Day by Day” and “Prepare Ye,” but it is the message of the show that seems to resonate most with Kasey Ray, who plays Jesus, and Andrew Pastorius, who takes the dual roles of John the Baptist and Judas, in the Artists of Concordia Theatre’s production of the Stephen Schwartz musical.
“Everything that is in ‘Godspell’ is written in the book of Matthew,” said Ray, who has been in two other productions of the musical. He noted that the show is open to many different interpretations.
Concordia’s version sets the story in a restaurant. “This restaurant is home to all types of people who come in from different walks of life and at different moments of their lives,” Ray said. That’s to emphasize that, “The message of the Gospel of Matthew and the message of Jesus Christ is for everyone,” he said.
Pastorius, who played the role of Jesus Christ in “Godspell” during his senior year of high school, was anxious to audition for the show when he learned that Concordia was staging it.
“This play is pretty much the entire Gospel of Matthew,” he said. “The elements within it have drawn me to it.”
“The pressure is
incredible,” Ray said of
playing Jesus in the show. “It’s more than a little bit daunting. I’m dedicating
myself as much as I can
to this role and being as prepared as possible so
that I can delve as completely as I can into the character and try to bring him to life as I would imagine him to be.”
In this musical, Jesus
is portrayed as having a sense of humor. Ray
believes that approach is taken so that the Gospel of Matthew, “can be relatable to all people of all generations and of all upbringings. So Jesus is a facilitator rather than a lecturer. Jesus tells these parables in short, fun ways.”
Ray, a senior from
Arizona majoring in mathematics and chemistry, has been involved in theater since his freshman year of high school. “Godspell” is Ray’s eighth mainstage
show at Concordia.
Pastorius’ dual roles present a challenge for him. “John the Baptist is a loyal follower,” the actor said. “He is a servant of Jesus preparing the way for him.” That’s expressed in the character’s first song, “Prepare Ye.” Playing that character comes naturally to Pastorius.
Portraying Judas is a more difficult experience. “Being a Christian myself, it’s very hard to try and tap into Judas’ mind, especially when he’s about to betray Jesus,” Pastorius said. “I’m wondering if it’s even safe to try and figure out what he’s thinking. The whole idea of betraying the son of God is a scary notion.”
Pastorius, from Michigan, is a senior philosophy
major who hopes to enter politics. Although he was in nearly every theater production at his high school, “Godspell” is the first show that Pastorius has been in at Concordia.
“Godspell” premiered off-Broadway in 1971. A new, more contemporary, orchestration was created for the 2010 National Touring Company and that is the version director Julie E. Hinz has chosen. “They threw in a lot more of the modern-day alternative rock band style,” Ray said.
Despite the change in music, the message of “Godspell” remains the same.