brooklynONE brings ‘Godspell’ back to Dyker Heights
Theater company welcomes original cast member for post-show talk
If you enjoyed the brooklynONE Productions presentation of the musical “Godspell” in a Dyker Heights church earlier this summer and were hoping for a repeat performance, your prayers have been answered.
Anthony Marino, co-founder and artistic director of brooklynONE, who helmed the recent revival of “Godspell,” announced that he’s bringing the classic musical back to Redeemer Saint John Lutheran Church for a three-day run on Sept. 7, 8 and 9.
The performances will take place on Friday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. Redeemer St. John Church is located at 939 83rd St.
Theater lovers who attend the matinee performance on Sept. 8 will be treated to special bonus.
Actress Peggy Gordon, a member of the original cast of “Godspell” when it opened off-Broadway back in 1971, will appear after the show for a “talkback” with the audience.
Marino said he’s excited to welcome an original cast member to see his production and to talk to the audience about the show’s beginnings.
“When we set out on our adventure to bring ‘Godspell’ to the community, it was extremely important that we stayed true to the roots of the original version,” Marino told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email. “Having Peggy Gordon join us to see the show and a talk back afterward is truly one of the biggest honors we could have imagined.”
“Godspell,” which features the iconic hit song “Day by Day,” was written by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak and is based on the Gospel of Matthew. The show had its beginnings as Tebelak’s master’s thesis project.
Marino has reimagined the show. His production takes place in an abandoned 1990s-era New York punk-rock club and features performances by band The Government. The show was presented at Redeemer St. John Lutheran Church in July.
The cast includes Marino, Valerie Cirillo, Joanna Connolly, Dana DiAngelo, Danielle Giacino Papaleo, Erech Holder-Hetmeyer, Brandon Thomas Martin, John Panepinto, Georgie Raiola, Miguel A. Sierra, Jannicke Steadman-Charles and Tyler VanTassel.
Danielle Rose Fisher is the production designer. The choreographer is Valerie Cirillo. Brendan Rorke is the music director. The show’s co-director is John Pud Panepinto. Marialana Ardolino is the stage manager.
Marino and the late Tom Kane founded brookynONE in Bay Ridge in 2006 to serve as a haven for emerging artists to hone their craft in a nurturing environment, according to a press release issued by the company. The company’s members include actors, directors, playwrights, poets, musicians, filmmakers and dancers.
Since 2012, brooklynONE has presented The Brooklyn Shakespeare Festival, featuring performances of such classic as “Measure for Measure,” “Julius Caesar”, “Much Ado about Nothing” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Romeo and Juliet” in Owl’s Head Park
The Rev. Khader Khalilia, pastor of Redeemer St. John Lutheran Church, said the recent production of “Godspell” was a major success on many levels.
“People called the church afterward to thank us,” he told the Eagle.
Khalilia gave his permission for brooklynONE to perform “Godspell” in the church’s sanctuary. It marked the first time the religious-themed show was presented in a sanctuary.
The pastor is hoping the show is the start of a new partnership between his church and brooklynONE.
“I would love to work with Anthony and brooklynONE again. I’m excited at the idea of continuing to partner with them. Maybe we could turn Dyker Heights into a community of the arts,” Khalilia said.
Marino is ready to sit down and talk to the pastor about the future.
“We love that we have a place to give back to the Dyker Heights community and we have some ideas for site specific shows we want to do there,” he said.
“Godspell” came to Redeemer St. John Lutheran Church after Khalilia reached out to Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, and suggested his church as a place for a theater performance. “Fran is an amazing person,” Khalilia said. “She’s like the mayor of Dyker Heights.”
Vella-Marrone, who is a friend of Marino’s, introduced the two men —the result was “Godspell.”
For more information on brooklynONE’s production of “Godspell” visit: www.bkONE.org.
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