Recommended*** Theatre at The Center, in Munster has brought back one of the first “Rock Musicals” to hit Broadway, “Godspell” with a book by John Michael Tebelak and music/lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. The original production opened off-Broadway back in 1971 ( over 40 years ago) and then moved to Broadway. “Godspell” is based on another book- The Bible, and in this production, the retelling of the Biblical parables takes on a whole new look. That is in part due to the clever imagination of Director/Choreographer Stacey Flaster and her staff. In the production with some very upbeat music ( most of us know “Day by Day” ( a taunting rendition by Hilary Marren) and “We Beseech Thee” (MattDeitchman leads the ensemble in this cleverly done number), but there are many songs that move the story of the “Gospel According To St. Matthew” as we follow a contemporary Jesus ( a powerful performance by Liam Quealy) as he recruits his followers and teaches them his lessons through the power of dance and song. As each learns, they make an imprint of their hand on a palm tree thus showing Jesus that they are prepared to follow him.
The show is old, but with the imagery that Flaster has brought to the production and the talented ensemble assembled, I feel it is well worth the trip to Munster to see. If you have seen previous productions, you will find that this is nothing like what you have seen , and if you have never seen this, but know the story ( having read the bible) you will find this a delightful experience where you will be energized by thsi young cast of dynamic talents. As most of you know, I have always regarded the ensemble as the key to a solid production and while we have two major players in this show, Jesus and John The Baptist/Judas an incredible performance by Jim DeSelm) without the ensemble, there is no show-Landree Fleming, Alexis J. Rogers, Rose Le Tran, George Keating ( probably the oldest cast member, but as always a pleasure to watch), Kathleen Gibson, Lauren Paris, David Hathaway in addition to those previously mentioned. Actors/Dancers/Singers/musicians that come in all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, but blended by Flaster into a sure fire entertainment experiences on the stage of Theatre at The Center in Munster Indiana.
On the tech side, kudos to set designer Angie Weber Miller for her sparkling beach, Brenda Winstead for her costumes that have been slightly modernized, but very “hip”, Bridget Earnshaw for her numerous props that are far more “today” than the 70’s but the “Hula Hoop” is still a reminder of our pasts, and the sound by Luis Garcia and lights bt Shelly Strasser-Holland were the final touches to a recipe for sheer enjoyment.
William Underwood and his three musicians compose a mini orchestra with the sound of many ( Ethan Deppe,David Saenger and Jamie Martinez) plus of course the ensemble members who add to the glorious 2 hours of entertaining story telling along with a Bible class. “Godspell” will continue through October 20th with performances as follows:
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
There are select other performances that can be found on the website www.TheatreAtThecenter.com
You can purchase tickets at the website, by calling 800-511-1552 or 219-836-3255 or at www.Tickets.com
The theater is located at 1040 Ridge Road inMunster ( just a hop skip and jump from the City of Chicago) and there are many fabulous and low cost dining spots in the area, free parking if course, and lots of exciting programs to go with the show, again check the website.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Godspell”. This is one of those times, when I would like to be able to do more than one rating. While I give the show itself three stars, the production would be at least a four star, or more- great talent, smooth direction!