Rehearsal photo by Glenn King
As orchestra director at Morton High School and conductor of the Central Illinois Concert Orchestra, David Getz has a passion for music education. He is also a lifelong composer, having premiered original compositions with both orchestras. This summer, his first foray into composing musical theater comes to life with the world premiere of Ruth: The Musical.
Through 27 original songs described by Getz as “classically-influenced showtunes,” the biblical story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz will unfold at Grace Church in Morton. Not only is it his first attempt at writing musical theater, it’s his first time producing and directing a show. “There’s a lot more that goes into [it] than just putting notes on paper!” he says, adding that advice from his theater friends has been critical. “Theater is the ultimate act of collaboration, and I am learning the benefits of that firsthand.”
A number of local talents have signed on for the production, including Courtney Huffman-Frye (Ruth), Alison Richter-Meuth (Naomi) and Steve Williams (Boaz). Phil Witzig, director of the Morton Community Chorus, will conduct the choir, which features members of Dynamic Crossroads, a local vocal group. The format is “through-sung,” meaning there is no written dialogue.
For Getz, who has worked on the musical off and on since 2011, bringing it to fruition is a dream come true. The June show is currently the only scheduled performance, though he’s left the door open for future collaborators to “elevate it into a greater production by adding other theatrical elements.” But if this is the only time his composition is performed, he adds, “I will be a very happy, content man.”
His ultimate goal is to show how creativity and the performing arts can be used as a vehicle for community service. “The story of Ruth, with its message of kindness and redemption overcoming grief and bitterness, is powerful and moving,” Getz explains. “I’m hoping this musical inspires you to see how you can be a Ruth or a Boaz in your community.”a&s
The world premiere of Ruth: The Musical takes place on June 16, 2018. For more information, visit www.theruthmusical.com.