ISU Theatre presents joyful, exuberant production of the musical “Godspell”

CATEGORIES: News, Students
Students on stage
Pictured from left to right, Iowa State University students Keaton Lane, Ryan Foreman, Syndi Lapsley, Nicolas Ronkar, Emily Heckle and Olly Manning rehearse for ISU Theatre’s “Godspell.”


Join ISU Theatre in a celebration of community and love when it presents the musical “Godspell,” opening Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Fisher Theater in Ames. Using a wide variety of storytelling techniques and a hefty dose of comic timing, a diverse group of 21st century college students encounter Jesus, who leads them through stories inspired by parables in the Bible’s book of Matthew.

The musical’s setting takes place in modern-day Fisher Theater, as the performers journey from a discordant group of individuals into a community.  The music features inspiring and entertaining songs ranging from pop and rock to vaudeville.

Student on stage
Iowa State University senior Keaton Lane plays the role of Jesus in ISU Theatre’s “Godspell.”


“Godspell” is about a community that comes together out of darkness to create a better tomorrow, said Keaton Lane, senior in journalism and mass communication, who plays the role of Jesus.

“There’s a reason that these religious parables and lessons have been used for so long, and it’s because they speak to something real and important about what it means to be a human and to struggle every day to be the best version of yourself that you can be,” Lane said.

Students on stage
Iowa State University students Emily Heckle (left) and Ryan Foreman (right) rehearse a scene for ISU Theatre’s “Godspell.”


Cast member Emily Heckle, senior in animal ecology, said the show’s stories have universal relevance.

“Many of the stories included in this show are well-known, but hard to internalize in a present-day context,” Heckle said. “Our cast and crew were challenged with the task of creating a work of art that respects the ideas and morals of these parables while making them applicable to a diverse crowd. By adapting the lessons for a modern audience, we are able to tell a story of inclusion, community and love.”

The show dissolves hauntingly into the story of Jesus’ last meal with his followers before his crucifixion death. The new community must then ask themselves what they will do with Jesus’ message to make their world a better place.

Brad Dell, the show’s director and director of ISU Theatre, hopes the audience will be moved by its message of empathy and compassion.

“Godspell is an inspiring story for modern times,” Dell said. “It’s about working together and rising above for the common good and about loving your neighbor to make the world a better place. A central song in the show says, ‘We will build a beautiful city, not a city of angels but a city of us.’”

Student singing on stage
Iowa State University student Olivia Gasper rehearses a song for ISU Theatre’s production of the musical “Godspell.”


Cast members include:

  • Keaton Lane as Jesus
  • Nicolas Ronkar as John the Baptist/Judas
  • Emily Heckle
  • Nathan Krusemark
  • Rachel McDermott
  • Ryan Foreman
  • Jessica Fenton
  • Olivia Gasper
  • Sydni Lapsley
  • Olly Manning

Creative team includes:

  • Director – Brad Dell
  • Scenic Designer – Natalie Hining
  • Stylist – Kelly Marie Schaefer
  • Music Director – Patrick Gagnon
  • Stage Manager – Francesca Geis
  • Technical Director – Christopher Culver
  • Costume Shop Supervisor – Doris Nash
  • Props Master – Amy Taylor
  • Assistant Stage Manager – Emily Oldham
  • Assistant Stage Manager – Liam Gleason
  • Choreographer – Valerie Williams
  • Lighting Designer – Davis Vande Steeg

“Godspell” opens on Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. with additional evening performances on April 6, April 12 and April 13 at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances will be held on April 7 and April 14 at 2:00 p.m. All performances are in Fisher Theater in Ames.

Tickets are available through the Iowa State Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations or the Fisher Theater box office prior to performances. Tickets are $25 for adults and seniors and $16 for students.

For more information, visit, email or call 515-294-2624. ISU Theatre is funded by ISU Student Government and supported by the Transforming Liberal Arts and Sciences Endowment.

About ISU Theatre

As a part of the Iowa State University Department of Music and Theatre, ISU Theatre seeks to empower citizen artistry by engaging students and the community in transformative theatre and performing arts experiences which examine the human condition, encourage lifelong learning, teach artistic skills, prepare professionals, inspire empathy, explore creativity, build relationships, and embrace diversity. ISU Theatre administers a major and minor in performing arts and produces multiple theatre and performing arts productions throughout the year featuring performers, designers, and technicians from throughout the university.

The ISU Theatre CoLab Initiative seeks to foster collaboration and engagement between ISU Theatre and other groups both within ISU’s campus and throughout the broader community to create citizen artistry, inspire and be inspired by meaningful public discourse and expand opportunities for ISU students, faculty and staff.

For more information, visit