By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

The NE Campus theater program will present Stephen Schwartz’s musical Godspell Oct. 16-Nov. 1.

The musical is about an ensemble of people coming together to get over their differences with guidance from Jesus.

Director Jakie Cabe, who first directed the musical in 2003 for the program, chose to revive it with some changes. Also, he wants to display the production to grade schools.

One of the biggest changes from when Cabe first directed Godspell was the decision to make Judas and John the Baptist a woman, played by NE student Bianca Vaituulala, and to make her a teacher on campus.

“I wanted the roles to be with someone with vocally a lot of power,” he said. “Bianca has an amazing voice and to give a different perspective that Jesus’ right-hand man might have been a woman.”

Vaituulala said she feels some pressure from people who might be put off because Judas is a woman versus his portrayal as a man in the Bible.

“I feel like I can give a different take to Judas because I’m a woman,” she said. “In the original Godspell, Judas is handsome and cocky, and my Judas is authoritative because I am a teacher.” 

Cabe said he also wanted to shed light on issues happening in the country by setting the show on a college campus, showcasing the diversity and the power of unity.

NE student Austin Peake, who plays Jesus Christ, has a more unorthodox role in the musical than how the religious figure is traditionally portrayed in media.

“The script was written with the perspective of Jesus Christ being a man, and as a teacher, not as someone who’s going around healing everybody and fixing everything,” he said.

Godspell is Peake’s first musical, and although he has training as a dancer, he said the hardest part is learning choreography for the production.

The character Lindsey is played by NE student Nicole Davis, who was introduced to the musical in 2013 and thought it was beautiful. Her wish to perform in a production of Godspell came true when she was cast, she said.

“Lindsey is confident, bursting, bubbly and out there with her thoughts,” she said. “She wants to follow Jesus in her own way.”

Peake wants the audience to take away from the musical that life is a gift, and at the end of the day, we’re all human.

“I’m blessed, and I hope the audience feels blessed too,” he said.

The musical starts at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursday from Oct. 16 through Nov. 1.

Admission is free for TCC students, faculty and staff; $3 for non-TCC students and senior citizens; and $6 for general admission.