Godspell Is Back: Prepare Ye For My Review

Categories: Theater

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Shtick meets solemnity in the 1971 musical Godspell, conceived by John-Michael Tebelak, with a durably catchy score by Stephen Schwartz.

It's a series of New Testament parables as rendered by a troupe wearing colorful vintage castoffs and indulging in comedy gags and vaudeville turns that originally served to bring the apostles down to a clowny, less reverential level and make them more accessible to the youth culture.

But it's harder to be subversive nowadays.

So it's not enough that in the new Broadway revival directed by Daniel Goldstein, the hardworking performers play instruments, do rap numbers, invite an audience member up for Charades, and turn "Day by Day" into a disco line dance complete with clap-along.

To add more juice, jokes have been added about Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, Lindsay Lohan, Wicked, and Facebook, as the show brings Christ into the social networking/iPad era.

The go-for-broke giggles mercifully adorn a book that underlines the positive messages from the Good Book -- lessons about humility, love, brotherhood, and conquering evil.

(There's nothing in there about how gays shouldn't get married.)

And the more ebullient numbers really pop, like a rousing "Bless the Lord" and a spirited "We Beseech Thee," done with mini trampolines.

But the show's switches from goofy to glum are as awkward as ever, and while the Jesus (the surfer-dude-looking Hunter Parrish from Weeds) has a silkily beautiful voice, he can't make the dramatic parts as profound as they want to be.

What's more, just like in the original Jesus Christ Superstar, it's a black man as the backstabbing Judas!

Still, the audience claps along, even when they're not told to.

They can't help it; this is the most feel-good musical ever done about the crucifixion.

(Oops. Sorry. I'm being irreverent.)


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7 comments
Vodkastinger
Vodkastinger

well congrats are in order for you Mr. Musto for sitting through the whole thing.  Maybe I just hate Jesus, but this show makes me throw up every time I see it, and this production was no different.  But I do think Hunter parish is a damn cute boy.  First time I ever wished to do it with Jesus.

Chris
Chris

Saw the show, and I think this review is very generous.  The show is a complete mess, and clearly not worth the $100-$200 for a ticket.  Let the buyer beware if you purchase a ticket for this show -- there is no more quality here than a high school musical that the producers moved to a Broadway stage.

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Cheap web hosting plans

Really its very nice.Its not a common thing to post a such article..I appreciate your blog..Keep posting this type of articles.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

"Always look on the bright side of Life ..."

Sounds like the critics will tear it to pieces.

I loved it when I was in my 20s, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Bethesda
Bethesda

I'll wait for the next "Superstar".

Whompers
Whompers

Sounds like a mixed bag, but worth the time if you like "Godspell." And I do!!

Johnyot1
Johnyot1

Totally disagree with Chris, he must not be a fan of Godspell overall, best version I've seen in a longtime, entire cast had strong voices and everyone walked out of the theater extremely happy and pleased! Went with family ranging from 13 to 78 years old! EVERYONE loved it!

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