Two years into a project aimed at bringing professional-level theater to Urbana, the founders of The Perennial Theatre Company have decided it’s time to hit the stage with a go-big-or-go-home mentality. To achieve this, the nonprofit theater group is trying its hand at arguably the business’ most challenging production – a musical.
Featuring a cast of nine actors from Champaign, Clark and Logan counties, the theater company will perform three upcoming showings of “Godspell” from the newly-renovated auditorium at the Gloria Theatre, 216 S. Main St. in Urbana.
Kohl King, co-founder of The Perennial Theatre Company, said after spending late 2015 and early 2016 producing plays like “Veronica’s Room” and “Proof,” the group felt it was time to take things to the next level, no matter the difficulty.
“Musicals are much more difficult to produce, so we wanted to make sure we were 100 percent ready for one,” King said. “This is not only our first musical, but also our largest production to date.”
Judging by the success of “Veronica’s Room,” which won several awards during the Ohio Theatre Association’s West Region Excerpt Festival in July 2016, the theater company was ready to tackle a musical.
Inspired by the biblical book of Matthew, King said “Godspell” is a story about a community coming together.
“Using a wide variety of games, storytelling techniques, and hefty doses of comic timing, Jesus uses parables to teach the community about kindness, tolerance, empathy and love,” he said. “With an eclectic blend of songs ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, ‘Godspell’ is a must see musical for all.”
The Perennial Theatre Company will perform “Godspell” at 8 p.m. on April 7 and 8, and at 2 p.m. on April 9.
Tickets to the musical can be purchased online at perennialtheatre.yapsody.com, at the Gloria Theatre Box Office, or at the door the day of the performance. Tickets start at $16, and discounts are available for veterans, seniors, college students and professors.
“We are putting everything we have into ‘Godspell,’” King said. “We believe it will connect and resonate well with this community. This show is about love, kindness, tolerance and empathy. All are qualities that make a community a great place to live.
“Yes, ‘Godspell’ is biblical, but it’s still for everyone. Everyone can learn from it.,” he added.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.