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St. Sebastian youth presenting original musical production

| Monday, March 20, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Clare Davis, as Mary Magdalene, and Dominic Malchiorre, as Peter rehearse for St. Sebastian's musical.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Feature dancers Carlie Kreutzer, Sydney Dominek, Natalie Schwer and Maddie Simms practice a scene for the musical during a rehearsal on March 15, 2017
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Julianna West, as Simon the Zealot, rehearses for St. Sebastian's musical.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Maddie Simms, Kaitlyn Brungo and, Caitlyn McClune, feature dancers, rehearse for the musical.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Nick Rossmiller and Bridget McCole take part in a cast dance scene for the St. Sebastian musical on March. 15, 2017.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Sara Custer, as Thomas, and Kristopher McEwen, as Jesus, rehearse for St. Sebastian's musical.

St. Sebastian High School Youth Ministry is presenting a special musical production in celebration of its 45th anniversary.

“City of Man,” an original script written by St. Sebastian Parish member Chip Horner, focuses on the 12 apostles and their lives and ministries following Christ's crucifixion.

“We've performed so many passion musicals here, so many stories about Jesus and his crucifixion. I thought it would be neat for audiences to experience a musical that shows what happened after that. It's a story not often told,” said Horner, 32, of Ross.

Musical numbers include favorite selections from the youth ministry's past productions, including “Godspell,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Children of Eden,” and “Cotton Patch Gospel.” There also is music from “The Book of Mormon” and “Rent,” as well as a U2 song, among others.

“It's a melting pot of music. It keeps the story moving,” said Craig Kreutzer, 48, of McCandless, director of St. Sebastian's musicals for the past 19 years.

The 90-minute musical portrays the apostles in a modern-day, camp setting as they try to figure out how they are going to spread the Gospel now that Christ is gone.

“It's lighthearted and funny in parts, and very pointed and serious in others,” said Kreutzer, who collaborated with Horner and the Rev. John Rushofsky at St. Sebastian in order to keep the story accurate and true to the Bible.

The cast is comprised of 31 high school students from the parish. A five-member rock band provides the musical accompaniment.

Kaitlyn Brungo, an 18-year-old North Hills High School senior from Ross, is a featured dancer in the show.

“I think it's going to be amazing. This is the first original show we've ever done,” she said. “Audiences are going to be so surprised. There are so many different songs from so many different musicals.”

Cast members donated at least $175 each to cover the costs of the show, which allows 100 percent of the revenue to go toward mission work.

Half of the proceeds will benefit the Diocese of Pittsburgh's longstanding mission in Chimbote, Peru, which supports a maternity hospital, clinic and orphanage.

The other half goes to St. Sebastian's Project HOPE Appalachian mission project in southeastern Kentucky. About 50 high school students, college students and adults from the parish travel there for one week every June to repair and build housing for the less fortunate.

Over the past 45 years, the youth's annual musicals have raised a total of nearly $300,000 for missions, according to Kreutzer.

Laurie Rees is a Tribune- Review contributor.

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