'Godspell' close to director's heart

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WALLA WALLA -- Live music, cast members and an intriguing plot will come together beginning tonight in Walla Walla Community College's production of "Godspell" for audiences enjoyment and involvement.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. May 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 or 2 p.m. May 16 and 23 in WWCC's China Pavilion.

Tickets, $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors, are available at the WWCC Bookstore or call 509-527-4575.

Written by John-Michael Tebelak with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, "Godspell" was created to make the gospel of Matthew more accessible to people.

The production is designed with a street corner tone and does not use microphones. The cast involves the audience by surrounding them with the action.

Director Kevin Loomer said, "I wanted to bring it back and offer it to this generation."

For Loomer, this production carries a lot of history. The Little Theatre of Walla Walla brought "Godspell" to town in 1986.

Connie Haun directed the show and Loomer was cast as Jesus.

Haun is now Connie Loomer, as she fell in love with "Jesus" and later married him. Both Connie and Kevin now work at WWCC and have a special connection with "Godspell."

Patty Leeper, Loomer's friend, wanted to be in the show in 1986 but was pregnant and unable to play the part.

This year, Loomer is giving her a chance to live her dream.

Leeper will perform alongside her son, Alex Leeper, who is also in the cast.

Other castmates are Gabe Anderson, Michael Bell, Shannon Bradford, Joe Haefer, Sarah Hemenway, Adraine Jacobs, Nancy Rae Johnson, Eva Marie Katsel, Alex Leeper, Patty Leeper, Mackenzie Riley, Daniel Rose, Laura Rose and Heather Smelcher.

"There's a lot of my heart in it," Loomer said.

As director of "Godspell," he has enjoyed bringing in cast members with little experience in drama.

Loomer enjoys watching the cast fall in love with the piece as he did more than 20 years ago.

The event is family friendly, and dancing to the music is encouraged.

Jennifer Jorgenson can be reached at jenniferjorgenson@wwub.com.

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