Every year during Lent I have a tradition to watch Godspell. Over-commitment this year prevented me from doing so. Better late than never, when STAGE Magazine asked Keith and I to review MCT’s GODSPELL, my answer was a big fat YES, and I’m so glad we were able to oblige.
GODSPELL is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. It is a series of parables based on the Gospel of St. Matthew, which are played out with a variety of modern music. Being a child of the 70s and having one hippie sister, and the other sister a lover of music, GODSPELL became one of my favorite musicals. I’ve seen many performances, two of them at the former Valley Forge Music Fair. Tonight’s performance matched that of a professional level under the magnificent direction of John Corkum, music direction by Erin Toscani, and choreography by Sally Rothschild.
There are so many positive things to say about this cast, I don’t know where to begin, and I’m not even sure how to end it. The carefully designed precision of the lights (by Tom Dinnella) in the first number, “Tower of Babble” (no, that is not a typo), creatively illustrates the story of the song as the cast, taking the role of various philosophers throughout the ages, sing fragments of their respective philosophies. Next up, “Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord”, led by Jon Ashley’s portrayal of John the Baptist, spiritually moved me to chills and brought tears to my eyes, as did many of the other well-harmonized songs. Ashley outdid himself a second time along with Ryan Godman as Jesus as they sang, danced, and did some magic tricks during “All For the Best”, a clearly well-rehearsed song. Jude Adams had the perfect voice tone “All Good Gifts”, probably the most challenging song for vocal range in the entire show.
The youngest in the group at only 15 years old, Marissa Garcia, lit up the stage with song, dance, and expression. Her first song, “Learn Your Lessons Well”, wasn’t enough to show off her vocal talent, but it was picked up in her fabulous harmonies as she sang “By My Side” with Emily Todd. Both blended the song with perfection, and again, oh, those glorious harmonies… well, there go my glasses fogging up again with emotion.
Nicolette Adams (typically a soprano), had no trouble with the Mae West style alto song in “Turn Back, O Man”. Other songs to mention that made me a blubbering fool were Mary Beth Devenney’s “Day By Day”, Alicia Culleton’s “O, Bless the Lord, My Soul”, and Even McElhiney’s “We Beseech Thee”, as did the entire Company.
Keith allowed me to solely write this review since I hold the show so close to my heart, however, he deserves some say as well. He was as equally impressed with the entire production and we particularly enjoyed the music and choreography in “We Beseech Thee”, and “Light of the World”, which was topped with glow sticks, a colorful added touch to the end of Act One.
From beginning to end, from the cast to the production staff to the band, GODSPELL will have you singing and dancing your way out of the theater.
Book by John-Michael Tebelak
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Directed by John Corkum
Music Direction by Erin Toscani
Choreography by Sally Rothschild
April 25, 26 and May 2, 3 at 7:30PM
Matinees: April 27, May 4 at 2:00PM
Methacton Community Theater
Shannondell Performing Arts Theater