men and women rehearsing in front of a mirror

“Godspell” cast members including, from right, Travis Westbrook, Jordyn Kess and Hayden Hotchkiss rehearse for the McLeod Summer Playhouse production, June 23-26, at McLeod Theater on the SIU Carbondale campus. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

June 17, 2022

‘Godspell’ comes to SIU’s McLeod Summer Playhouse, June 23-26

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Take a trip back in time when the McLeod Summer Playhouse features the rock musical “Godspell” in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s McLeod Theater.

Structured through a series of parables and retelling of the Gospel of St. Matthew, the performance features music with lyrics from traditional hymns in a modern setting. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. June 23-25, with 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, June 26. The theater is in the Communications Building, 1100 Lincoln Drive, on the SIU campus.

The critically acclaimed musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak, was first performed by Carnegie Mellon University theater students in 1970 before opening off-Broadway in 1971. It debuted on Broadway five years later.

The 2022 performance at SIU Carbondale features 11 current SIU Carbondale students or alumni.

C. Rion Towery, who recently earned his Master of Fine Arts in theater, said he is honored to direct and choreograph the production, the first musical production for McLeod Summer Playhouse in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My vision for ‘Godspell’ centers on a group of outcast misfits who, drawn to the charismatic teachings of a figure named Jesus, end up following him on a fantastic and zany journey,” Towery said. “On this journey, these so-called ‘undesirables’ form an unanticipated community that discovers together the beauty of mutual compassion and good will.”

The performance’s music is under the direction of Jackson Love, a graduate student in music theory/composition from Huntsville, Alabama.

The cast, by hometown, are:


Beecher: Lucas Reilly, sophomore, musical theater.

Carterville: Travis Westbrook, SIU theater graduate.

Chicago: Jordyn Kess, SIU musical theater graduate.

Marion: Nate Sanders, sophomore, musical theater.

Herrin: Mitchell Brandon, sophomore, musical theater.


Orlando: Gillian Corpuz, junior, musical theater.


Highland: Amethyst Fanning, senior, musical theater.


Bay City: Aubree Jean, senior, musical theater.


St. Louis: Abby Ohlau, sophomore, musical theater.


Nashville: Sydney Adkison, freshman, musical theater.


Menomonie: Hayden Hotchkiss, sophomore, musical theater.

Tickets available now

Additional show and ticketing information is available at or 618-453-6000 or the Saluki Ticket Office at 877-SALUKIS (725-8547)

Single tickets or season tickets that include the All-Southern High School theater production of “Grease,” presented by Artspace 304, July 28-31, are available