GNA proudly presents Godspell


Each year the director of our drama department, Mrs. Ellen Rutkowski, selects a musical that was once on Broadway for our theater group to perform. Our theater group has been named “The GNA Players,” and in recent years our very own students have taken on the roles of stellar shows such as: Little Shop of Horrors (2015- 2016), You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (2014- 2015), Shrek the Musical (2013-2014), and Seussical the Musical (2012- 2013), with Wizard of Oz and many more before these. This year “The GNA Players” performed the original Broadway version of Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz (Also the writer of the Broadway musical Wicked).

Mrs. Rutkowski graduated from GNA with the class of 1977 and has worked here since 2006; she also has a first-hand account of the rich history that Godspell has within the auditorium walls of Greater Nanticoke Area. What many people do not know is that Godspell was performed here by students of GNA in 1977 and was the first musical production that was ever performed at GNA. This year (2017) marks the 40th anniversary of that performance, which has become one of the reasons that this show was chosen by Mrs. Rutkowski. “I was in the show as a student here, and I selected this production partially in celebration of 40 years of plays here.”

There are two versions of Godspell, the original from 1970 and the remake from 2012. We performed the original because it was what was first performed 40 years ago. When asked, Mrs. Rutkowski stated her second reasoning for this selection. “Because of recently seeing the new version of Godspell on Broadway, I felt like some of the original character that the music had was lost in the new sound.”

Godspell is about a group of very different individuals who come together as a community and, even after their leader is gone, continue on. This truly is an accurate depiction of our theater group; we are all very different and that is what makes it so authentic – we are our characters. Jesus’s character will be in clown makeup; this is in part of the fact that the fool, historically, is actually viewed as the wisest person of a group. Even though the second half of the play takes on a more serious note, there are many moments for laughs and upbeat music to tap your toes to. Terry Teachout, of the Wall Street Journal, states that Godspell is, “A family friendly show that deserves to run forever.”

Despite winter storm “Stella,” many people came out to support “The GNA Players” as they performed Godspell on March 18th and 19th. Many of the original cast members were in attendance and were featured in a musical number with the new cast in celebration of 40 years of musical theater. Overall, it was a most spectacular performance!

Interview with the Cast

Kyle Stratton: Judas

How many musicals have you been a part of here at GNA?

This will be my second musical here at GNA. I was, previously, the voice of the plant “Audrey 2” in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Does being on stage ever make you nervous? How do you overcome this fear?

Yes, getting over it is a matter of confidence in yourself and what you are doing; this also involves trusting the rest of the cast.

Sarah Adkins: Gilmer

What is your favorite part about performing live?

The audience reacting, as well as the sort of high energy that everyone has. I feel like if you were to touch anyone  during a performance you would get shocked.

What is your biggest fear of performing live?

Messing up or having a kind of breakdown on stage, or those awkward moments when there is a joke but no one laughs and there is this uncomfortable silence and pause. It’s just the worst!

David Mash: Lamar 

What do you love most about being in musicals here at GNA?

I like seeing the music, characters, and set fit together over time.

Does being on stage ever make you nervous? How do you overcome this fear?

Yes, it does. If someone tells them it doesn’t then they are lying. It can be good to be a little nervous, though, it can help you stay sharp to what you are doing.

Gabe Jenceleski: Jesus Christ

Does being on stage ever make you nervous? How do you overcome this fear?

If I ever feel nervous, which I rarely do, I usually just attempt to make my performance even more vivid.

What do you love most about being in musicals here at GNA?

I mostly enjoy acting over my singing, but I truly enjoy the all around experience of being in musicals and play 

Emalie Rowles: Peggy

What do you love most about being in musicals here at GNA?

I’ve always loved singing and acting and in musicals I can do both. I also love that every cast in every musical I’ve been in became close and practically like family.

What is your favorite part of performing live?

I love the thrill of performing with close friends in front of an audience. Nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of performing live.

Alicia Pancheco: Sonia

Does being on stage ever make you nervous? How do you overcome this fear?

Not all the time. Usually I’m so focused on the music I forget the audience is sometimes there.

What made you audition for Godspell?

I love the musical Godspell and I love to sing

Adrianna Roberts: Joanne

What do you love most about being in musicals here at GNA?

I have been in the past five musicals here at GNA and I have fallen in love with this amazing program. My absolute favorite aspect of this theater program is the family that we have created through the years. There is just an unbreakable bond between all of us. These people have influenced my life in countless ways and leaving this part of my life behind will be one of the most difficult things about graduating this year. I owe a big portion of who I have become to this place; because whenever I was lost, the stage was always there.

What is your favorite part of performing live?

The fact that you have become a different person. Every time you walk on that stage you are no longer yourself, you are a character that no one else has seen before because no matter how many times you watch a live show it is never the same. It instills a sense of creativity in each of us as we learn to look at our character through a new light and then put them all together and create something all our own. It also boosts the bonds between all of us as we need to work as a cohesive unit and trust one another.