Hellertown’s Dimmick Park will transform into a local version of Broadway for one weekend this June for a production of the musical “Godspell,” the borough announced last month.
The production is being directed by Saucon Valley High School’s longtime theater director, Chad Miller.
In Miller’s eight years with the district he has put on productions with all three Saucon Valley schools, and he has overseen the development of the high school’s fall play. “Godspell” will be his 29th and final musical with the district.
Miller is joined in leading the production by husband and wife duo Patrick and Kim Mertz, who bring 19 years of combined SV theater department experience with them.
“We thought it would be a great experience for the students and a solid bookend of our theater time in Hellertown,” Miller said.
Performances of “Godspell” will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 18 and Saturday, June 19. There will also be a preview night performance on Thursday, June 17.
Miller and his team are counting on support from the community in order to make the production a special experience for everyone involved.
While casting auditions have closed, the production is still in need of crew members.
“‘Godspell’ will have a bigger need in the sound/lighting tech than in actual build crew,” Miller said. “I would imagine the crew number will be between 12 and 15 students.”
Those interested in becoming crew members can sign up through the form on the Hellertown Borough website.
Rehearsals for the production will primarily be held on weekday afternoons after the high school lets out. As the end of the school year approaches, Miller said occasional evening and morning rehearsals may take place.
“We are basically going with five days a week, but with an organized schedule that will only have people present that need to be there,” he said.
Miller is also asking for monetary support from the community. The production has a budget of between $2,000 and $3,000, which will be used to fund rights to the production, equipment rental and the cost of hiring professional musicians. Excess funds will be earmarked for future live performances in Dimmick Park, the borough said.
Checks can be made payable to the Borough of Hellertown with a note “Musical 2021” and sent to the borough at 685 Main Street, Hellertown, PA 18055.
Miller said he chose “Godspell” for this summer’s production for its ability to be adapted to the Dimmick Park stage, and for his personal connection to the musical.
“I needed a show that did not require woodwinds in the pit or a large pit, and it also has incredibly flexible casting,” Miller said. “Basically, ‘Godspell’ checked all the boxes to make this work.”
“It’s music that many of the community members will know, and it is my second favorite musical and has a lot of personal meaning to me,” he continued.
Miller is also excited to have a talented group of local musicians in the orchestra pit for “Godspell.”
Lucille Kincaid, who Miller said is heavily involved in theater productions at Northampton Community College, will be the production’s pianist.
“I will easily state my belief that she is the best piano player in the area, and I greatly appreciate her help with this,” Miller said.
Eric Jones, the parent of a SVHS freshman will be the pit’s bassist. He is joined by recent Saucon Valley grad Dan Keats, who will be the show’s drummer. Keats has formerly worked on the high school’s productions of “Curtains” and “Hello, Dolly!”
Tim Lerch, a junior at Palisades High School, will play second guitar, while Miller will handle first guitar for the production.
Miller has also said that COVID precautions will be in place during rehearsals and performances. Masks are being worn for rehearsals, both indoors and outdoors.
He is hoping that a mask-less performance may become an option as more members of the community become vaccinated.
“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this outside was the small chance of finally not having to wear masks when performing,” Miller said.
He added that he will defer to the guidance of officials when it comes to wearing masks during performances, and that members of the Saucon Valley theater community are already prepared for a masked production in June.
“We have been singing in masks all year, and the musical recently presented successfully indoors at Saucon involved masks,” Miller said.