To mark Easter weekend, Woodside Bible Fellowship in Elmira is presenting the musical The Choice. Written by Robert and Cindy Sterling, the musical features the drama and spectacle of ancient Rome during the rule of Tiberius Caesar and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The musical is an Easter story set in a seaside city where a young Roman centurion, Marcus (played by Dustin Martin), falls in love with a beautiful Jewish girl, Hannah (Elycia Martin), who is a follower of Jesus. Over the course of the production, Marcus becomes fatefully intertwined in the events leading to the execution of Jesus and must weigh the words and example of Jesus against the wealth and power of the world – in that balance hangs a choice he must make. “It’s a story of the forbidden love and the cultural difficulties of the two main characters that takes place during the biblical time of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection,” said Darlene Frede, one of the three directors of the musical.
Frede, along with directors Brenda Barriage and Darrell Martin, have built a chorus and cast of more than 40 people to produce an “emotionally strong musical.””]The trio has worked together on numerous productions over the years, with Martin focusing on the music direction and Frede and Barriage concentrating on the drama and stage directing.
“This is the first time we have worked together in 10 years but we have found our old groove and everything is coming out just great,” said Frede. “It was the perfect time to set up this production and this time of year is a great time for people to come out a see a production especially about the Easter story.”
This is the second time the church has tackled this musical, the first production having taken place 12 years ago.
“We are re-doing the musical but we have a new vision for it and it is a bit different than the last time we produced it,” said Frede.
The troupe has been rehearsing since January leading to the opening night.
The Choice will run over three nights, Apr. 6 through Apr. 8, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the curtain rising at 7:30 p.m. The production is 70 minutes long and admission is free.
“I feel this is an important story for people to see,” said Frede. “We do find that Easter is a time when people go to church, that and Christmas, so we feel that Easter is a good time to present something as it bring people out.”