Godspell is sort of a musical comedy version of the life of Jesus and his followers, with the parables he tells them forming different little skits and songs as they all act out the stories. The show begins with everyone on their cell phones, individuals in this modern world. They soon throw away their phones and come together to listen to and learn from Jesus. The show is overall pretty light-hearted in tone, almost campy at times, with a brief somber moment when Jesus dies. But it ends on a high note, with everyone returning to stage and sharing the joy and love of this community they've built.
Being unfamiliar with the show, I looked for parallels to shows I do know, and I found one in Hair. Godspell premiered off-Broadway in 1971, just a few years after Hair rocked the musical theater world (literally and figuratively). I can see a lot of similarities between the two pieces - a tribe of friends with similar ideals trying to change the world, a loose plot structure more like a series of skits and unrelated songs on a similar theme, a leader who dies in service to his people and then comes back for a glorious final anthem, and an overall message of peace, love, and harmony. In a way, Jesus was the original hippie, with his long hair and sandals, preaching peace, love, non-violence, and community. Godspell is like Hair without the sex, drugs, and nakedness (in other words, not quite as much fun ;).
|the cast of Godspell|
The costumes (by Samantha Fromm Haddow) are odd and colorful and quirky, and provide some individuality to the cast of nameless characters. The set (by Kirby Moore) is a series of grey stone blocks and steps that allows the cast plenty of room to play. And the four-piece band capably leads the cast through the diverse musical styles.
Lyric Arts' production of Godspell is a cute, fun show with a talented energetic cast that is having as much fun as the audience. Playing through March 16 with discount tickets available on Goldstar.