Godspell opens at Unionville High School in 40th Anniversary Production

Director, cast dedicate performance to ‘Okie’ Regalado, the Unionville student who passed away last year

By Eddy K. Foster, Corespondent, UnionvilleTimes.com

The cast of 'Godspell' at Unionville High School: Back row: Andrew DeMarco, Matt McWilliams, Regan Zehr, Chris Trombetta, Brittany Baumeister, Savy Leiser (seniors) Seated: Ashish Streatfield, Samantha Moon, Natalie Walden, Tessa Jackson, Kimberly Kitay, Cynthia Waibel Front: Hannah Chidekel, Amy Gottsegen, Jared Fortunato, Rachel Stoltz

It was lights, colors, music, and singing in what will be the last ever show to open on the old stage at Unionville High School. Director Betsy Ballard led the show as the UHS Drama Guild presented Godspell, a musical based on the biblical gospels of Matthew and Luke put to song and colorful dance.

Director Betsy Ballard explained, “Godspell is a joyful musical that was originally created as a Master’s thesis project by a young student, John-Michael Tebelak at Carnegie Mellon University. First and foremost, the show is about the formation of a community and the joy that ensues.  This is achieved through the playful enactment of parables told in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, which Tebelak used as the vehicle for the script.”

The show was brilliantly produced, and was a complete success from the opening cacophony of “Tower of Babble” to the lounge-singer influenced “Turn Back O Man” through the “Finale”. The entire show had a “summer of love” atmosphere that was at times carnival-like, with Hannah Chidekel (Nina) juggling and Rachel Stoltz (Gabby) doing the entire show on rollerblades.

Ashish Streatfield, who played a tie-dye clad Jesus in the production, thanked the director, “Miss Ballard is amazing. Spring Play is a whole lot of fun.” Cynthia Waibel, who played the Mary Magdalene-influenced Sonia, thanked Ballard as well as Production Designer Linda Sordi. “I also want to thank the entire cast and crew for such a wonderful experience,” she gushed following the show.

Ballard returned the complements, claiming, “I’ve never had a cast that worked as such an ensemble without any big egos dominating and taking over. This play has truly been one of my favorites.”

Among all the enjoyment, there was a somber moment when Ballard announced the show was in honor of a recently deceased Unionville student. “We are dedicating the show to Oscar “Okie” Regalado, a former student and crew member who was tragically killed last summer. His spirit is with us as we perform on the UHS stage for the final time before it is demolished to make way for the new auditorium. Okie was a real friend to many. His sister Laura Regalado is my stage manager this year,” she said.

The Spring Play at Unionville High School is a recurring performance yearly, and performances of Godspell continue Saturday at 2 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.

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