The show, if you’re not aware, is a loose retelling of the Gospel of Matthew, parable after parable, lesson after lesson. It started as a workshop project thrugh the theatre program at Carnegie Mellon University, moved to New York in 1971, and became that “other”, safer, more accessible Christian musical – Jesus Christ Superstar was still too radical at the time.
It’s a high energy, fun show, and both times I’ve done it (I both directed and was in the cast the second time), the casts were YOUNG. I mean, average age of the first time was 17. The second time was 24, and at 30 I was literally the old man. And it needs to be that way, I believe. It can be directed by someone older, but the performers need to be young, because they need to bring energy, enthusiasm, joy, and most importantly, INNOCENCE to the stage.
It was revived on Broadway in 2011 (and closed in 2012). You can see what I mean about the youthful cast…
Except… the folks at Valrico don’t quite believe that.
Yeah, Valrico. Village Theatre. The folks who believed that you could cut Susan Walker from Miracle on 34th Street and it wouldn’t affect the show. Or who believed that no stage manager for that show was a good idea.
They’re about to stage a production of Godspell where, from the looks of the cast photos, the average age of the performers is probably in their mid-to-late 40s. Maybe later.
Now, I know one of the directors. She came in during Miracle and did some scene analysis and actually made sense. But the other director is the woman who was responsible for Miracle on 34th Street.
The gentleman playing Jesus in this s brian Beach. Brian played Jesus in the recent Plant City production of Jesus Christ Superstar where I played King Herod. He was just incredible, and I know he and his wife will bring everything to the show.
But the others…
They’re the usual suspects, as you might say when you discuss community theatre groups. If you don’t know what I mean, go watch Waiting for Guffman. Competent? Sure. Hit your marks and have your line? Yes. High energy, youthful and innocent? Not so much.
So am I recommending you don’t go? I’m sort of on the fence. It’s going to be something absolutely different, a Geezer Godspell. I mean, who knows what kind of energy that sort of maturity will bring to the show. I can’t see them doing anything high energy on “Bless the Lord,”:
And I’m gonna bet “Turn Back, O Man” s just going to be…well, it’s just going to be:
but, hey, maybe they’ll be doing vaudeville for a lot of the parables.
And who knows? Maybe outside of Brian and Sharyn, there just might be a hidden gem among the cast. I’m not saying there is, but you never know…
The show runs Friday and Saturday nights from March 8 through the 23rd. Details are here.