GODSPELL by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak March 24-April 10, 2022 Directed by H. Russ Brown Music Direction by Ben Childress
Based on the Gospel according to Matthew, Godspell was the first musical theatre offering from composer Stephen Schwartz, who went on to write such well-known hits as Wicked, Pippin, and Children of Eden.
Breaking new ground when it appeared on Broadway in 1971, it features a comedic troupe of eccentric players who team up with Jesus to teach his lessons in a new age through parables, games, and tomfoolery.
Featuring the international hit, “Day by Day”, as well as an eclectic blend of songs ranging from pop to vaudeville, Jesus’ final days come to life onstage.
Even after the haunting crucifixion, Jesus’ message of kindness, tolerance and love lives vibrantly on.
(Sarah) is a performance major at COM and is stoked to be doing her fifth production with this theatre.
Some of her favorites include playing Little Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown, Grempkin in Peter and the Starcatcher, and Alice in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
She would like to thank her family and friends for their constant love and support and her grandma Keekle who continues to be her #1 fan in heaven.
She would also like to thank H for giving her this opportunity, Ashley Love, and the rest of the creative and management team for their hard work and dedication.
(Matthew) is excited to be in his first show at College of the Mainland.
He’s been doing musical theatre since he was 7 years old.
Some of his past credits include Warner (Legally Blonde), Frankenfurter (Rocky Horror), Jack (Into the Woods), and Beast (Beauty and the Beast).
Matthew would like to go to a four-year college for musical theatre after he graduates from College of the Mainland.
Matthew would like to thank all his wonderful professors and H. for pushing him to be a better performer every day.
(Onyx) is thrilled to be in their first year as a COM major! They have been doing theatre since they were 7 years old and cannot wait to see where their future goes with theatre.
Onyx has also performed as Fiona in Shrek, Cinderella in Into the Woods, and Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
They want to thank H, Amanda, Jase, TJ, Helen, Sage, and the entire cast for such a wonderful and exciting experience! Lastly, they want to say thank you for seeing the show!
(Jesus) is very excited and thankful to be cast as Jesus in COM's production of Godspell!
Raised in Santa Fe, Texas, he has always aspired to be a Broadway Actor.
He is a second year College of the Mainland theatre major and wishes to continue in his path to expanding his craft. He has performed at Santa Fe High School and at the Hobby Center of Performing Arts.
He'd like to thank his friends and family, and his fellow cast members for a wonderful new experience.
He hopes to have many more wonderful experiences performing his craft, enjoy the show!
(Marisa) is a theatre major at COM and is thrilled to be doing her third production here.
Marisa is truly blessed for the opportunity to perform on stage and do what she loves.
Some of her favorite roles are Soupy Sue in Urinetown, Sheriff in Perils of Truly Sweet, and Athenian Chorus Leader #2 in Lysistrata.
Marisa plans to transfer to a university next year to obtain her Bachelor’s in Acting.
She would like to thank her family for their constant support and always cheering her on from the audience.
(Sarah) is excited to be a part of her second production at COM Theatre as a theatre major. Sarah is a graduate of Santa Fe High School and has been involved in theatre throughout her high school career.
She has been in shows such as Pantalone in Company in Wayward Saints, Birdy in Anybody for Tea, and Ismenia in Lysistrata.
She would like to give big thanks to her mom and everyone who supports her.
She cannot wait to grow and learn as a person and as an actor. She wants to thank H. Russ Brown for his wonderful guidance and for giving her such an awesome opportunity to be in this amazing show.
MARIO V. NEGRON-SWEENEY
(Judas/John the Baptist) was born and raised in Texas City, Texas. He is a freshman at College of the Mainland.
Mario has been acting and singing since the age of 6.
He has performed in over 30 musicals and has had the opportunity to perform on several off-Broadway performances. His latest and first adult performance was at Island ETC in Galveston in Rent where he displayed his acting and singing abilities as an ensemble member and understudy as the character ‘Angel.’ Mario is excited to be at COM and is thankful for H and this opportunity with his new theatre family.
He is excited to start this new journey and is looking forward to many new adventures with COM theatre.
Mario would also like to thank his parents and many family members that have supported him and continue to support theatre.
(Zoe) is excited to be returning to the stage in her third production at College of the Mainland!
Some of her favorite roles include Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical, Ursula Bye, Bye, Birdie, and most recently Hope Cladwell in Urinetown.
She wants to thank her friends, and family for constantly pushing her to do her absolute best!
When not on stage she can be found hanging out with friends, or baking cupcakes.
Lastly, she would like to thank H for this opportunity, and for all his support.
(Nelson) is very excited to be in his second show at COM.
He is a first-year theatre major.
He’s been in many musicals before including Matilda and Newsies. He’s very thankful for his family and friends that have always supported him.
He’s also excited for the challenges of this show.
(Shatorey) is extremely excited to take part in her fifth COM theatre production.
She is originally from Forney, Texas and has been doing theatre for 7 years now and is ready to continue her journey in the performing arts.
This will be her 21st production, and she is very excited to be a part of this amazing cast and crew!
She would like to thank H. Russ Brown for casting her in this beautiful show; it will forever hold a special place in her heart!
A big thank you to her fellow cast and crew for working so hard to make this show worthy of the COM Theatre stage
(Hayden/Dance Captain) is ecstatic to be returning to the COM stage for the third time!
Hayden has been performing since middle school and has recently been seen as Reporter #3 in A Devine Kerfuffle, Billy Boy Bill in Urinetown, and Chip in 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Hayden is also a choreographer whose work was last seen in High School Musical at Clear Falls High School.
Hayden graduated from Friendswood High School and is a current COM Theatre Major with plans to pursue performing as a career.
Hayden would like to thank H. Russ Brown, the cast, crew, and the whole COM Theatre family for everything they do.
(Jada) is ecstatic about starting her first musical as a COM Theatre major!
She is from a small town called Mart, Texas, and has been in six shows throughout her theatre journey.
Her favorites include A Divine Kerfuffle (Eleanora Duse) and Taking Leave (Cordelia).
She is honored to perform the ensemble role in her 4th show at the Biggest Li’l Theatre in Texas!
This show is special to her because it is her first musical, and she gets to express her love to her Lord and Savior.
She would like to thank her Mom for raising her to be a strong woman, her theatre family from Mart Tx, her new COM theatre family, and God who has given her the strength, the talent, and the vision to make it all happen!
THE DIRECTORS CHAIR
Welcome back to Season 49 ½ at COM Theatre: The Biggest Li’l Theatre in Texas!
Godspell comes to us from the early 1970's, a time when young people were inflamed by war, jaded by the media and popular culture, suspicious of receiver wisdom, and they were yearning for authentic heroes who could offer them some peace, some love, and some sense of identity. Roughly two generations later, in these uncertain times, young and old alike may be finding themselves in much the same predicament.
Seeking that same solace, theatre graduate student John-Michael Tebelak was inspired to write Godspell after he attended a disconnected, somber Easter service: “an old priest came out and mumbled into a microphone, and people mumbled things back, and then everyone got up and left. Instead of ‘healing’ the burden, or resurrecting the Christ, it seems those people had pushed Him back into the tomb. They had refused to let Him come out that day.”
He immediately went home and began to work on Godspell.
“I wanted to make it the simple, joyful message that I felt the first time I read [the Gospels] and recreate the sense of community, which I did not share when I went to that service.”
Within a year, Godspell was performed off-Broadway.
Since its premiere in 1971, Godspell has been revived, reimagined, and restaged countless times. Our production takes place in a dilapidated subway station through which stream beleaguered individuals from all walks of life, each one clinging to the competing ideas of some influential philosopher or scholar - reflecting the futility of any human’s attempt to explain God and the universe - until, suddenly, John the Baptist enters with the promise of a new way.
Godspell has been hailed as a beautiful interpretation of the Gospel According to St. Matthew and damned as an outrageous blasphemy.
Whether you consider yourself a person of faith or are more circumspect or secular in your views, we invite you to open your heart to rediscovering the joy, the simplicity, and the powerful message of redemption found in this retelling of the good news as it bursts forth in color, sound, and movement onstage here at your COM Theatre: The BIGGEST Li’l Theatre In Texas!!
H. Russ Brown – Head of Theatre / Artistic Director
BEHIND THE SCENES
H. Russ Brown (Director)
is a nationally recognized Theatre Artist / Educator who has worked at theatres across the country for the past 30 years. He holds an M.F.A. degree in Acting from Western Illinois University and is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors.
As COM’s Head of Theatre / Artistic Director, H. Russ is proud to help guide the growth of COM’s Academic Theatre Program and continuing the tradition of excellence on the COM Theatre stage. His greatest achievement, though, is his marriage to his beautiful wife, Elizabeth, and his two amazingly talented kids, Grant and Auben.
Ben Childress (Music Director)
is a native of New Orleans and is thrilled to be a part of COM’s production of Godspell.
An accomplished pianist and violinist, Ben has been music directing and playing all over the world, most recently in Australia and New Zealand with Celebrity Cruises.
Previous select music direction credits include: Wildfish’s production of Hair, Boom Theatrical’s A New Brain, the national tour of Bye, Bye, Birdie!, the national tour of Altar Boyz, JPAS’s Hairspray, and Broadway Theatre of Pitman’s My Way.
Ben is incredibly thankful to H and KMS for including him in this incredible production.
Much love always to Mom and Dad, Hayley, Karl, and Omar.
Ashley Love (Choreographer)
is an award-winning professional actor, intimacy director, and director with a passion for new play development. Favorite acting credits include the roles of Rissa in House of Several Stories (The Kennedy Center), Sherry in Tigers Be Still (Outpost Repertory Theatre), Ximena in Black Mexican (Rachel Lynett Theatre Company), Against the Hillside (The Kennedy Center), and Bad Habits (William Inge Festival).
She is thrilled to be joining COM Theatre this year, and she’s beyond grateful for her amazing wife, Kasi.
T.J. Webb (Stage Manager)
is ecstatic to be part of his 18th production at COM Theatre as the Stage Manager of this amazing show.
He was last seen onstage in Lysistrata as Old Woman #3, Master Harold and the Boys as Willie, Joe in The Shadowbox, Cry-Baby as one of the Whiffles, Lucky Stiff as the bellhop and punk, Stop Kiss as Peter, and The Tin Woman as the Nurse. He also was the Stage Manager for the play Voice of the Prairie, Taking Leave, and Assistant Stage Manager for Pump Boys and Dinettes.
He wants to thank God, his family, his directors, and his friends for all their support. If you hear me singing, just know I’m prepping for my world tour lol.
Curt Meyer (Technical Director)
received his B.S. in Technical Theatre from Lamar University in 1996, and his M.A. in scenic design and theatre technology from Southwest Texas State Univ. in 1999 before he began teaching at San Jacinto College Central from 2002-2014.
His work has been seen in Houston, San Marcos, Baltimore and Atlanta, including designs for Jesus Christ Superstar (Beaumont Civic Opera), A Streetcar Named Desire (Southwest Texas) and most recently Young Frankenstein (San Jacinto College).
Curt served on the Texas Educational Theatre Association board of directors in 2006-2007 / 2008-2009.
Curt is also a UIL contest Manager and adjudicator.
Amanda Bezemek (Costume Director)
is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Houston School of Theatre. In addition to her work at the university, she has also worked for the Alley Theatre, Stages and the Houston Shakespeare Festival and Children's Festival.
Amanda joined the theatre staff at COM in February 2004.
Susan Gilbert (Box Office Manager)
enjoys her busy job with the College of the Mainland Theatre and has been with COM since 1992. She believes the long time success of the COM Theatre can be attributed to the many volunteers who dedicate their time and energies to make this theatre great and all the loyal season subscribers and patrons who support the Arts.
Susan resides in Texas City raising her amazing 9-year-old autistic great-nephew Avery.
Jase O’Brien (Asst. Stage Manager/Asst. Director)
is in his 6th production at COM Theatre.
This is his first show as a technician. He has played such roles as Eliot 1 in Taking Leave, Jim in Pumpboys and Dinettes and Mr. McQueen in Urinetown.
Jase is a graduate of Santa Fe High School and is currently a Theatre Major at College of the Mainland.
Jase is an independent filmmaker with a passion for writing and directing. He would like to thank Charles Hutchinson, Haley Auzton, and his wonderful girlfriend, Gabby Surber, for helping his grow as a person and a performer.
Helen Hendricks (Asst. Stage Manager)
is a COM freshman from Alvin High School.
She is overjoyed to be a part of her second COM show as the Assistant Stage Manager.
She has participated in theatre since she was in 2nd grade and can’t wait to continue her education.
COM Theatre Staff
Artistic Director..........H. Russ Brown
Technical Director......Curt Meyer
Costume Director.......Amanda Bezemek
Box Office Manager...Susan Gilbert
Assistant Professor....Ashley Love