Alumni Show to celebrate Royal tradition

October 4, 2013 | 4 p.m.

Bethel alumni come together to celebrate Bethel's past, present and future through song and dance

News | Sarah Boadwine

The Royal legacy will be taken to a whole knew level as the characters of John and Val Johnson take on Benson Great Hall to portray a Bethel version of Les Misérables through song and dance. On Saturday Oct. 5, a group of alumni actors will perform the Alumni Show as a part of the Royal Celebration. The show will take place at 7 p.m. and all students, faculty and alumni are encouraged to attend.

Alumni from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s will join together to perform the musical parody in order to elaborate on 50 years of Bethel history and culture through the story telling of a cast of 20 performers.

According to Chris Nelson, manager of constituent programming, these performers have worked to bring together a relevant story for all Bethel alumni and current students to feature the story of the university’s past, present and future.

In Victor Hugo’s masterpiece Les Misérables the main character is Jean Valjean, but the Bethel version will follow two Scandinavian students, John and Val Johnson, through their love story of five decades as students, alumni, faculty and eventually parents of the next generation at Bethel.

The show will feature seven principle cast members who are all professional and semi-professional actors. The scriptwriter for the show, Michael Pearce Donley, is known for writing “Triple Espresso,” a television show that has been seen by two million viewers. His wife, Joy Peterson Donley, will join him as the narrator.

Nelson stated that this show will have the feel of Welcome Week’s “The Show,” meaning that it will be light-hearted and comical.

"The show during Welcome Week is usually about a person coming to college for the first time, it shows some sort of story, and the alumni show will display a story through John and Val Johnson coming back to Bethel for their 50th year reunion.” Nelson said about the performance.

According to Joy Donley, students and alumni should expect an epic half-hour parody to the musical Les Misérables.

“At the end of the day when you’re going to Bethel, you don’t go to the movies or dance at a ball. It’s forbidden, it’s taboo and you might get expelled if you do. Every R.A. you ever knew is smelling your breath… when you’re going to Bethel.” Joy shared these lyrics that come from the song “At the End of the Day” which will be sung when the actors talk about Bethel in 1963.

Joy also mentioned that the process of writing and rehearsing the show, has been a very enjoyable one for those involved. Joy said that her favorite part of the show so far has been finally being able to hear the alumni singers portray the characters and chorus.

“It was very satisfying to watch them laugh as we read through the script for the first time together. It was also very exciting to get alumni from the past five decades together in one room and have them sing the great melodies of Les Misérables together,” Joy said.

Along with the show, the Royal Celebration will also honor Bethel’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year, Jay Substad, class of 1988. Substad serves on the Board of Directors of Agua Viva, which is committed to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Honduras.

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