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Powell brings together Bethel years in show worth ‘Eighty-nine cents’

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College and community audiences probably know Joshua Powell, senior from Basehor, best for his vocal talents.

Powell is a four-year member of, and frequent soloist for, both the Bethel College Concert Choir and the men’s a cappella group Open Road. He has also appeared on the Krehbiel Auditorium stage in drama and musical theater productions throughout his time at Bethel.

In the last several years, Powell’s Bethel stage roles have included Fabrizio in the first regional production of the musical The Light in the Piazza, Dr. Gibbs in Our Town, Gabriel von Eisenstein in the operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat), the dual roles of the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince in last October’s Fall Festival production of Into the Woods and, only a few weeks ago, the small but pivotal role of A Visitor in Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

Powell also played one of Jesus’ disciples in the musical The Upside-Down King, written by Newton musicians Doug and Jude Krehbiel and author Carol Duerksen of Goessel and performed both locally and at Mennonite Church USA’s national convention in Columbus, Ohio, in July 2009.

Last fall, after four years of competing at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) regional student auditions, Powell finished first in the Senior Men’s Classical division.

Despite all these musical credentials, Powell’s major at Bethel is actually communication arts – and it’s senior seminar time.

“Because I have been so performance-based at Bethel, I was given the choice to do a formal research paper and presentation or do a creative project,” Powell said. “So I chose a creative project that is centered around the performance style of a cabaret.”

Powell is calling his show “Eighty-nine cents.” “The title comes from a quote I found about love from the television show M*A*S*H, written by Laurence Marks,” he said. “In Season 2 in an episode entitled ‘Love Story,’ the character Hawkeye says: ‘Without love, what are we worth? Eighty-nine cents! Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals walking around lonely.’”

“Eighty-nine cents” will feature Powell along with sophomores Renee Reimer, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Allison Yoder, Kalona, Iowa, and junior Cameron Voth, Goessel, on vocals, with pianists Jordan Ortman, sophomore from Marion, S.D., and Austin Unruh, sophomore from Goessel. It will be Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center.

“‘Eighty-nine cents’ is a collection of thoughts, music and monologues that focus on the subject of love, whether it be good or bad,” Powell said. “As a performer, your goal is to try and connect to the material you are working on and express it in a way that lets the audience fully understand what is happening.

“In a cabaret, everything is so personal for everyone involved that it is hard not to become attached to the music, the words, the people you are working with and the audience you are performing for.”

Admission to “Eighty-nine cents” is by donation. Proceeds will go to defray the cost of music and supplies for the show, with anything extra to benefit Bethel’s theater department.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

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