Godspell 1

With his kiss, Jesus, played by Jonathan Thomas, reveals the betrayal of Judas, played by Alana Scott, in the Musical Theatre Club at LSU's production of 'Godspell.'


Alana Scott never expected a leading role, and the one she landed made her stop and think.

"I started wondering about what they saw in me to make me Judas," Scott says.

Judas, as in the one who betrayed Jesus.

Scott will tackle the role in the Musical Theatre Club at LSU's production of "Godspell," which opens Feb. 16 at LSU's Reilly Theatre. Admission is free.

The musical uses an ensemble cast to tell the story of Jesus and his teachings through a series of parables. It specifically focuses on the relationship between Judas and Jesus, which ends with Judas' betrayal.

Scott isn't complaining about her role; she's happy to be playing Judas opposite Jonathan Thomas as Jesus. She's also learning new things about the disciple.

"I'm actually seeing some parallels between Judas and Jesus and Malcolm X and Martin Luther King," Scott says. "Martin Luther King approached things with love. He did things peacefully, like Jesus. But Judas was more angry and forceful, and we wanted to make things happen now, like Malcolm X."

And in the end, Scott has learned, Judas was only human.

"He was too ambitious," she says.

"Godspell" is based on the Gospel of St. Matthew. Stephen Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics, and John-Michael Tebetak wrote the book. The musical premiered off-Broadway in 1971 and made its Broadway debut in 1976.

"I knew the songs, but I wasn't familiar with the musical until we started rehearsing it," Thomas says. "It's really a lot of fun. Most people wouldn't know that it's filled with a lot of comedy and slapstick."

Schwartz portrays some of the parables through vaudeville numbers.

And those who have never seen "Godspell" may be familiar with its timeless hits "Day by Day" and "Learn Your Lessons Well."

"The music is upbeat and a lot of fun," Scott says. "It's a true ensemble piece, which makes it so different from other shows I've been in, which have the main characters and supporting cast. This show depends on the entire ensemble, and it's my favorite show because of that."

Colleen King is directing the show with musical direction by Andre Trahan. Tony Collins is the choreographer.

And sponsor Terry Patrick Harris has arranged for live orchestra accompaniment.

"Brian Breen has arranged for some musicians to play the music," she says. "Canned music is so tinny, and we always need live music for the high quality of our productions."

There are no spoilers to the story's outcome. But a question of forgiveness lingers.

"I think there is forgiveness for Judas," Thomas says. "I would like to believe that."


A production of the Musical Theatre Club at LSU

WHEN: 7:30 Feb. 16, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17, 2 p.m. Feb. 18

WHERE: Reilly Theatre, Tower Drive, LSU

ADMISSION/INFO: Free, (225) 578-4174

Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.