Yes, you read that correctly, 2014 was the final year of 28 years in total of presenting 'Why Must He Die?'
Over those years, including those when it was presented by the 8th grade class at St. James School in Sewickley, the Teen Chorale of Sewickley Choir Institute and the Village Singers of TriCounty Choir Institute, we have performed in 160 different schools, retirement homes, including 143 churches of all denominations. This year on Good Friday as we do our last performance at 7pm at St. Patrick's Church in Canonsburg, it will be the 416th performance!
In case you aren't familiar with Why Must He Die?, it is written, directed and produced by Linda Wallace from Sewickley Hills. It is a meditation through music, drama and liturgical dance on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This is a unique passion play written as a play within a play. Throughout the trial of Jesus by Pilate and the Accusers, the action is repeatedly frozen. The disciples and apostles are then seen reflecting on Jesus' life and reacting to what led to Jesus' impending death. They share their thoughts with the audience as if they too, hypothetically, have been allowed to observe Jesus' trial.
The trial of Jesus(Adam Mazza-Washington) takes place between Pilate(Bill Davis-Cranberry) and the Accusers(Dale Turner-New Castle, Karen Galehan-Imperial, and Rachel Mitchell- Irwin). Some of the feature soloists include: Mary Magdalene( TerriLynn Cheponis-Kilbuck), who sings I Don't Know How to Love Him; Peter(Kurtis Charlton-Moon) and Jesus, who sing Upon This Rock; John (Matthew Brind'Amour-Brighton Hts.), who sings Take My Mother Home, and Judas(Michael Goessler-Ross), who sings Was It I Lord? The play concludes with Jesus' death and resurrection depicted through the songs Jesus, Remember Me, Take My Mother Home, Who Was That Man, Why Did He Die?, To Buy My Pardon, Rise Again, and Lamb of God from the Gospel Mass of Robert Ray.
Others in the cast include: Bride of Cana(Bekah Manganaro-Verona), Canaanite Woman(Kim Householder- Leetsdale); Elizabeth(Amanda Leight-Allison Park); Guard(Jason Vogel-McKees Rocks); Jairus' Daughter/ Liturgical Dancer (Gabrielle Toppetta-Moon); Joanna(Taylor Modro-Beaver Falls); Mark(Jimmy Manganaro-Verona); Mary(Liz Manganaro of Verona); Martha(Gina Manganaro- Verona);Mary Mother of God(Carole Dundes-Oakdale); Mother of Children(Leslie Toppetta- Moon), Children(Angel Palladini- Sewickley and Lexi Manganaro-Verona); Pilate's Wife(Emily Semich- Aliquippa), Salome(Leah Saloio- Wexford); Samaritan Woman(Karie Jarvis-Moon), Veronica(Brianna Spilsbury- Upper St. Clair); Woman in Crowd(Rachelle O'Connell- Pittsburgh);and Woman of Blood(Catherine Wheatley- Imperial). Those Village Singers not in the cast are the back-up choir at the shows. The Backstage Director is Bernadette Cheponis -Kilbuck. The Technical Director is Rocky Lewis- Swissvale and the accompanist is Kathy Kelso- Wexford.
2014 Performance Dates