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Mountain View agency staging “Godspell’ Friday and Saturday in Lowville

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LOWVILLE — A group of 16 students from Adirondack, Copenhagen, Beaver River, South Lewis, and Lowville school districts will stage a production of “Godspell” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Lowville Academy and Central School auditorium on North State Street.

The performances are open to the public and offered free of charge, although donations are welcome and will be used toward the 2014 production.

This is the third regional high school summer theater production Mountain View Prevention Services has sponsored. The Mountain View program is open to high school students in all five Lewis County school districts as well as Adirondack Central School and Carthage Central School districts. The show goes from casting to showdate in five weeks.

Originally written by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, “Godspell” debuted on Broadway in 1976 and ran for 527 performances, with various revivals and tours throughout the years. Its 2011 Broadway revival provided much of the inspiration for the Mountain View production.

A retelling of the Gospel of Matthew, “Godspell,” at its heart, is about the formation of a community out of disparate people coming together around a charismatic individual, who teaches them to “always treat others as you would have them treat you” and that we are all “the light of the world.”

The play is set in modern-day New York City.

The production features Tommy Johnson as Jesus, Grace Metzler as Judas, Evan Lashbrooks as John the Baptist, and performers Christie Lee, Emily Sipher, Kristen Beyer, Dustin Shanley, Christine Pisaniello, Anna Lyndaker, Kiersten Lehman, Hannah Rockwood, Elyse Merrell, Sarah Lyndaker, Chelsea Munger, Abbi Lyndaker and Hannah Gebo.

The production is under the direction of Rachel Nortz and Ashley Doney with the mentorship and direction of Penny S. Jay and Cynthia C. Graves. Mrs. Jay also serves as the musical director.

Miss Nortz and Miss Doney are summer interns with Mountain View. Miss Nortz is a senior majoring in business administration at Nazareth College in Rochester. Miss Doney is sophomore at Manhattanville College in Purchase, majoring in theater performance.

Mrs. Jay is the music department chairwoman at Lowville Academy and Central School and has been involved in many musicals hosted by the district.

Mrs. Graves is an elementary school teacher at Copenhagen Central School and has been involved with several theatrical productions in her district.

Sponsors for this year’s program include the Pratt Northam Foundation, Stewarts Stores Holiday Fund, the YEAH! Program of the North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council, the Youth Advisory Council of Lowville Academy and Central School and various community contributions.

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