Godspell’ is the light of Broadway

New York’s Circle in the Square Theater on Broadway and 50th Street looks awfully similar to Seton Hall’s own Theatre-in-the-Round. The Circle in the Square is an intimate amphitheater, which makes it the perfect location for Broadway’s revival of the hit musical “Godspell.” The theater creates a personal performance space in which the audience is very much a part of the action as cast members sing up and down the aisles, sit next to audience members and pull them onstage.

Like the 1971 original, the “Godspell” revival is a modern musical retelling of the Gospel of Matthew. It is not simply a dry recreation of the original production, but a fresh interpretation that proves how the parables on greed, pride, forgiveness, family and friendship are still applicable today.

Funny, upbeat and current, “Godspell” is perhaps the most college friendly show on Broadway. It is evident that the script has not only been adapted extensively from the 1971 original, but has even been updated since the rehearsals began back in early September, as the show contains allusions to current events as recent as the Occupy Wall Street movement and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il’s passing that will resonate with a college audience. The pulsating rock score, which was extensively updated by Grammy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, transcends the limitation of “show tune” into a type of music that blends with today’s popular music. The show also contains a cast filled with familiar faces that many college students will recognize; Jesus is played by Hunter Parrish of “Weeds,” and his disciples include Telly Leung from “Glee” and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle from “Hannah Montana.”

The production is composed of ten equally talented individuals who feed off of one another’s energy. The accompanying band is brilliant and the technical crew complete the show with incredible instrumentals and lighting.

“[The show] made me approach my faith in a way I never had before- like the story of Jesus was happening today,” junior Angie Szani said of “Godspell.” “It confirmed, for me, that His lessons fit in my own modern world.”

Wallace Smith, who plays the role of John the Baptist and Judas, told The Setonian that his favorite part of being involved in “Godspell” is making people happy.

“It’s very important. We live in a society that’s going through a lot of hard times, so that’s the joy of it for me,” Smith said.

Parrish said the cast is the main reason why people should come see the show.

“It’s a really excellent group of people you will love watching,” he said. “They’re really talented people who will inspire you.”

Although “Godspell” is certainly an exciting and highly energetic show, especially for audience members seeing it the first time, even after multiple viewings it still continues to inspire: an usher at the Circle in the Square Theater, who has seen the play countless times said, “I love the play, I see it everyday and each day it is more beautiful than the last.”

Emily Lake can be reached at emily.lake@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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