St. Rose of Lima To Present ‘Godspell’
By Gary G. Toms
On Saturday, August 24, at 8 p.m. the St. Rose of Lima Parish (154 Beach 84 Street) will present the legendary musical "Godspell." The cast consists of Rockaway, Broad Channel, and Brooklyn residents, who are either pursuing professional acting careers or continuing their involvement in community theatre.
Bill Murray, the director of the St. Rose production, is a Broad Channel resident, and he has been a director with the Broad Channel Theatre Group for the last six years.
"I’m looking forward to opening night. Everything seems to be coming together nicely, although the cast might not think so," he said jokingly.
"We basically held an open audition for actors, singers and dancers, and we ended up with a strong cast of 10 in total. I worked very closely with my Stage Manager, O.D. Jaen-Fadde, my choreographer, and my musical director to get things situated. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done. I’m also proud of my cast, and I can’t wait until the community sees these talented actors."
The total cost of the production is estimated to be at $3,000, and Murray noted that the expenses have been met through the efforts of cast members who have paid out of pocket.
"This is definitely a labor of love. When people are putting their own money into a project, you can only describe that as a labor of love," said the director.
Nicola DePierro, 18, also from Broad Channel, is the supercharged choreographer for the production. A graduate of the High School of Performing Arts, DePierro has been dancing since the age of three.
"This has been a great experience for me. Working with this group of actors has been fun. We worked really hard on the routines, but we also managed to have fun in the process. The cast is really close," stated DePierro.
St. Rose of Lima’s Musical Director, Scott Battaglia, is also the musical director for the play. He believes that the production will do much to offer healing in the community after the tragic events of September 11 and the crash of Flight 587.
"I got involved with the project as a way of giving back to the community and to try a help bring back a sense of normalcy to Rockaway after the difficult year we’ve had. I really hope the community comes out in huge numbers to support the play and our efforts."
Cast members include: Najat Arkadan (Sonia), Barbara Hayes (Robin), Peri Abramsky (Joanne), Sara Maniscalco (Peggy), Patricia Opderbeck (Gilmer), Patrick Longalong (John the Baptist/Judas), Henry Lagos (Jeffrey), Warren Sampson (Lamar), and John Schiavone (Herb).
Warren Sampson, 14, is the youngest member of the cast. Sampson is a life long resident of the Arverne community who became part of the production through the church.
"I was very reluctant to get involved at first, but then I made the decision to do it. It’s good for the community, and it’s something positive," he said.
A full-piece band will accompany the cast, and many of the musicians have played with "Uncle Walt and the Jewels, a 20 piece band that specializes in "Big Band" music.
Additional performances will be held on Friday, August 30 and Saturday, August 31, at 8 p.m. A special matinee performance is scheduled for Sunday, August 25, at 2 p.m. You can contact the St. Rose of Lima Rectory for more information. All proceeds from the production will go to the Saint Rose LIFE TEEN Program.