By Dan Edelen
When the lights dimmed for a revival of Godspell in New York City’s Circle in the Square Theater Nov. 12, the audience included members of the 1986 cast of Lafayette students who performed the play 25 years ago.
In March 1986, a cast and crew of a dozen students enlivened Colton Chapel with the first modern era student-run theater production at Lafayette, Godspell, a musical interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew.
“We sang for a Godspell testimonial video outside the theater afterward,” says Lisa Lacroce Patterson ’86, who directed the Lafayette production. “Everyone remembered their parts and sang four-part harmony!”
The idea to attend the revival together coalesced after Patterson encountered former cast member Brad Lewis ’87 at Reunion Weekend 2011. Though Lewis was the only cast member who could not attend, he helped fuel the dream of reuniting. Others contributed too. Tom Gibbons ’87 arranged the matinee preshow luncheon at Playwright’s Tavern near Circle in the Square, where the Lafayette cast sang songs from the show while seated at their table.
“Although we traveled in different social circles at Lafayette,” says Sally Moscatiello ’86, “we were bonded by the magic of the biblical stories and the teamwork required to pull it off.”
Professional countertenor David Walker ’88, who went on to perform with The Metropolitan Opera and on stages across the world, says, “Most people in the production of Godspell are so moved, it casts a lifelong impression. Of all the theater experiences I’ve had in my life, Godspell at Lafayette stands out as one of my top ten.”
Beyond the lasting personal joys of that 1986 production, a second legacy remains. Chaplain Gary Miller suggested that any profits from the 1986 production go to a student-run soup kitchen operating in Easton. The performance raised $1,000 for the kitchen and laid the foundation for more than $100,000 collected for charities through other Lafayette musicals sponsored first by the Chaplain’s Office and now as the Marquis Players.
Patterson, the director of individual giving at Princeton’s McCarter Theater, adds that the reunion was so successful, the cast plans to meet again, perhaps each year. “It’s a love fest!” she says. “Taking time out from our busy lives to share memories and create new ones couldn’t be more worthwhile.”