The Canal Winchester High School Performing Arts Department is putting the finishing touches on its spring musical, "Godspell."

The Canal Winchester High School Performing Arts Department is putting the finishing touches on its spring musical, "Godspell."

Performances will be held at the Oley Speaks Auditorium in the Education Center, 100 Washington St., at 7 p.m. April 29 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on April 30.

Tickets cost $5 for students and senior citizens, $7 for adults and $10 for reserved orchestra seating. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door or can be purchased through the school's website at

Created by John-Michael Tebelak, with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, "Godspell" is structured as a series of parables based on the Gospel of Matthew.

"The cool thing about this show is that you'll never see the same "Godspell," director Lauren Lanker said. "It's the kind of show that allows for a lot of creativity on the part of the actors and director."

The company consists of 10 actors, 25 ensemble members and a crew of 10, all directed by Lanker; Todd Phillips, local director and set designer; and Chad McGee, orchestra director.

The show is set in a warehouse and centers on the coming of Jesus (portrayed by senior Micah Gunn) into the lives of its workers who have been overworked and underpaid.

"Godspell" challenges "the 10" - nine disciples and Jesus - to be on stage and in character for the entire show, with the exception of intermission.

"It's very physically exhausting, vocally draining and emotionally challenging," Lanker said. "Our actors are stepping up to that challenge and they're giving it their all."

Christy Wildermuth, a senior starring as one of the disciples, said the biggest challenge of this production is being engaged the whole time.

"You just never really get a break," she said. "It can sometimes be tricky to make it seem like this is the first time that I've ever done this.

"It's hard to make it seem like it's fresh and new every time you do it, but it's also been a great challenge."

The cast is not following the typical format of "Godspell" when it comes to John the Baptist (played by Tyler Blackford) doubling as Judas. The actor playing Judas will be randomly selected on stage during each production.

"Each night, the Pharisees will pass out these cards and one of the cards has a black spot on it, and whoever gets the black spot is the one who betrays Jesus that night," Lanker said.

This is the kind of show where collaboration is essential for success, Lanker said, and the most rewarding and humbling thing has been collaborating with the students.

"Their suggestions and their ideas have really built the show and helped to create a much better show than I could've created just on my own," she said.

Lanker said the students' enthusiasm, comedy and love of improvisation have really bolstered this production.

"A lot of the comedic moments and the jokes that the audience will see were just invented by these actors and not even necessarily scripted," she explained.

Lanker said she is particularly proud of the senior cast members.

"We have some incredible leadership in this cast and everyone feeds off of their energy," she said. "There's a great chemistry that I'm seeing on stage."

Wildermuth credits Lanker for choosing a cast that works well together.

"We started out not being the best of friends but throughout this entire process, we've become so close, almost like a family," she said.

For Lanker, this production of "Godspell" is one that provides a huge impact and assures that audience members "won't be looking at their watches" if they attend.

"This is a show you don't want to miss," Lanker said. "It's a show that challenges our very westernized, self-focused, individual mindsets and it'll leave you thinking about the power of community lived out in the modern world."

Lanker said at its heart, "Godspell" is "about a community that is more powerful when together than they are as individuals."

She said "Godspell" has the power to inspire the Canal Winchester community.

"I feel that in the midst of this somewhat discouraging time, this show offers a glimmer of hope," she said.