Archikulture Digest

Godspell

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p class=”MsoNormal”>Godspell

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p class=”MsoNormal”>By John Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz

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p class=”MsoNormal”>Directed by Paul Castaneda

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p class=”MsoNormal”>Starring Kevin Sigman and Wyatt Glover

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p class=”MsoNormal”>G.O.A.T., Orlando, FL

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p class=”MsoNormal”>It’s really hard to criticize a play co-written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but what works as theology lacks a bit in the theatricality department. In this Sunday School lesson for the Attention Deficit Disordered, the singing outperforms the songs, the acting outperforms the script, and the Sinners become Saints without epiphany. We open with a Goth Metal dance party that makes you think “I’m going to need to call the cops, soon.” As the party gives the audience a frightening sense of worldly metal angst, John the Baptist (Glover) enters and gets the party calmed down with an apocalyptic version of his “You damned kids stay off my lawn” speech. The unhappy unsaved Goths quietly fall back as a very Sephardic Jesus (Sigman) takes the stage. It’s time for the bright, shiny and well behaved disciples act out the parables, sing some upbeat but unmemorable songs, and take the sort of gentle rebuke from Jesus that you might give your 3 year old if he grabs too many cookies. And our Goth friends, they come back one by one, very discretely, and hang out at the back of the ensemble as truly penitent sinners ought.

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p class=”MsoNormal”>While the songs were sort of blah (“Day By Day charted” in the 70’s and sounded sort of familiar), the singing wasn’t. “Day By Day” felt like it could still have some pop mileage when sung by Corrine Mahoney and The Ensemble. “Turn Back, Oh Man” was a nice torch number from Erin Brenna my favorite female dancer, and “We Beseech You” with Emile Doles stood out. Other noteworthy voice came from Mr. Glover and Nicole Carson. The dancing varied wildly, but lithe Andrew Sybert kept every one on the same line, even if showed off more than once. Sigman’s Jesus projected an otherworldly “I’m just here for the party” feeling but lacked the pop star charisma needed to make the Disciples enthusiasm feel real. The Goths looked menacing enough, but I’d have liked Jesus to interact with them more as they converted.

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p class=”MsoNormal”>Except for some loud music in the opening sequence, Godspell is completely family friendly and never pushes a boundary that would offend a fanatically Christian audience member. The message might, we see that Salvation isn’t just for the people with fish bumpers stickers – I.R.S. agents and downloaders have an equal chance if they want it. The large cast and minimal staging fill the GOAT space and compliment the exposed brick and wire atmosphere, and shows the company is adjusting nicely to its new space. While Godspell lack the toe tapping hits of its contemporary “Jesus Christ Superstar,” the show is enjoyable without getting preachy, and a great show case for some of Orlando’s lesser know but still noteworthy voices.

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p class=”MsoNormal”>For more information, please visit http://www.goatgroup.com


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