Pope John Paul II, the musical, in Rome
From football and acting to role on world stage03 June, 18:44
Father Giuseppe Spedicato, a prolific writer, started developing the script the year after John Paul died. "Writing a newspaper article or a book is a fascinating experience because you are also sharing part of your own life," he said in an online statement. "But writing a musical about a figure like John Paul II, the pope that changed the world, is an intense, unique and deeply moving experience". Spedicato said he chosen John Paul because he had meant so much to so many people and left such a rich heritage.
"He visited over 300 countries, circling the globe at least 30 times," explained Spedicato. "He met millions of people in order to spread the message of Christ, love and hope". The play is staged by 21 actors, following weeks of casting and rehearsals. The lead role is played by Simone Sibillano, who has starred in a host of other musicals, including Jesus Christ Superstar, the Phantom of the Opera and Robin Hood. Dancers Flavia Astolfi and Caterina Felicioni choreographed the musical, which was directed by actor and director Gianluca Ferrato, who is also one of Italy's top voiceover dubbers. Father Biagio Mandorino, who wrote the music, said he had been overjoyed with the project. "I had been waiting for so long for the opportunity to express through music my deep esteem for the pope, who accompanied me through adolescence, my youth and the 15 years I have spent in the priesthood," he said. An earlier version of the musical has been staged in other parts of the country over the last two years but the Rome production has been entirely revamped, with new direction, choreography and cast, as well as changes to the script. Entitled Non Abbiate Paura (Don't Be Scared), it will be staged in Rome's Teatro Italia on June 11 and 12 before embarking on a nationwide tour.