United Methodist Church to present ‘Godspell,’ the musical

United Methodist Church of Anoka will present its first full-fledged musical.

The Pharisees (Sarah Rhodes, Noel Lindner and David Sukovaty) confront Jesus. Photo courtesy of Ron Heltemes

The Pharisees (Sarah Rhodes, Noel Lindner and David Sukovaty) confront Jesus. Photo courtesy of Ron Heltemes

The church has staged cabaret performances in the past, but this is its initial foray into a full-blown production, said director Rev. Joyce Slostad, former pastor at Champlin United Methodist Church.

A cast of 15 church members will perform Stephen Schwartz’s uplifting musical “Godspell,” Friday, April 19 and Saturday April 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 at 3:30 p.m. UMC of Anoka is located at 850 South St. Tickets are free, but Slostad encourages people to reserve tickets to ensure seating. A free-will offering will be taken and the musical is suggested for older children and adults. For tickets, call the church at 763-421-2378.

“Godspell is a fun, musical way to introduce people to our church,” Slostad said. “It’s a great opportunity for outreach. People who don’t normally come to church might come for a production.”

The show is based on the Gospel According to Matthew and features a Jesus character and his disciples.

“Godspell” will be accompanied by a four-piece band (piano, guitar, bass and drums) under the baton of the church’s choir director Hannah Braasch. Audiences will hear a variety of music styles, ranging from vaudeville to folk to gospel to ballads. Among songs are “Prepare Ye,” “Day By Day” and “Beautiful City.”

Braasch is the show’s music director, while Slostad not only directs but is the show’s choreographer.

Judas (Neil Eerdmans) and Jesus (Josh Slostad) prepare for a vaudevillian song and dance number in Anoka United Methodist Church’s upcoming production of “Godspell.” Photo courtesy of Steve Rhodes

Judas (Neil Eerdmans) and Jesus (Josh Slostad) prepare for a vaudevillian song and dance number in Anoka United Methodist Church’s upcoming production of “Godspell.” Photo courtesy of Steve Rhodes

The cast comprises church members: Don Arnold, Brian Christopherson, Neil Eerdmans, Rose Eerdmans, Amanda Harris, Kim Harris, Noel Linder, Michael Perrault, Sarah Rhodes, Joshua Slostad, Matthew Slostad, Joyce Slostad, David Sukovaty, Wendy Weber and Kathleen Zimmerschied.

The show is a fresh retelling of a timeless story, Slostad said.

Slostad invites community members to experience the joy of the performances.

“I think they’ll be touched,” she said. “I think they’ll be entertained. I think they’ll laugh. I think they’ll cry. It’s just moving. It’s educational…. We need to love one another and care about one another and do what’s right.”

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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