Two Rivers United Methodist Church and the Center For Living Arts are teaming up for a special 4:00 p.m. Palm Sunday presentation of Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell. The musical, directed by and starring Dino Hayz as Jesus, sets the gospels of Matthew and Luke to music, skits, and heartwarming fun.
The cast of 32 is made up of longtime members of Two Rivers, some new to the Two Rivers family, and veterans of The Center for Living Arts. Tom Vaccaro, a well-known face in the Quad Cities theater community, is a leading player in the show. Pastor Robb McCoy, choir director Mark Swessinger, and children’s choir director Tammy Baugh are all a part of the cast as well.
“You might see another show with more talent. You probably will see another show that is more polished,” said McCoy. “You will not see a show where the cast is having more fun.”
Godspell is not a narrative in the classic sense, and cannot really be described as a passion play. It is an event. It is the coming together of a community of people, right out of the congregation of those gathered. As the community comes together, they plea for salvation with “God Save the People.” They long to see Jesus more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly in “Day by Day.” There is bitter sadness as Jesus’ most devoted follower slowly turns on him as he sings “On the Willows.” Finally, in the rocking, driving climax of the story, Jesus is crucified. After his death, silence falls over the sanctuary until it is finally broken by the lone voice proclaiming, “Love Live God.”.
The performance has an added significance because it will be on Palm Sunday. Serving as a great way to start the holiest week of the Christian year, the performance of Godspell will end with an invitation to experience the rest of Two Rivers Church’s Holy Week services, including a service on Thursday at 6:30, a chance for self-guided reflection on Friday from 3-6 p.m., an Easter sunrise service at 6:30, and the full Easter worship service at 9:30 a.m. on April 5.
The Center for Living Arts (centerforlivingarts.org) is located at 2008 4th Avenue in Rock Island. Just a few blocks from Two Rivers, Dino and Tina Hayz produce several children and youth musicals a year. This spring they are currently working on a youth production of West Side Story and a children’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. West Side Story will show at The Center in April. Joseph will show on May 1-2 at The Center, and will be at Two Rivers on May 8-9. More is coming about this growing relationship between Two Rivers United Methodist Church and The Center for Living Arts.