Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day by Day: Broadway's Godspell

Happy Easter to anyone who celebrates it! Other than accompanying my dad to church this morning, I didn't really do anything special. Gone are the days of dressing up for Church then rushing over to someone's house to color and hunt for some eggs. But I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight Broadway's newest revival musical Godspell.

Before this year, whenever I heard people talk about Godspell, my mind would immediately think about the 1973 film starring Victor Garber as Jesus. As a product of Catholic education, I had the opportunity to see the film a few times. With its blend of holy Scriptures (based mostly from the teachings of Jesus Christ) and "modern" pop-rock songs, it was definitely one of the more fun ways my old teachers got us to learn our lessons. I also highly enjoyed the film's used of New York City locations as well as the cast's diversity and free-spiritedness. It was only this year, however, that I found out Godspell was actually a musical stage production first and that this new version starring Hunter Parrish as Jesus will be a Broadway revival. I was stoked.

Victor Garber and the current cast of the Broadway revival w/ Hunter Parrish

Luckily I have been able to see this show now twice and absolutely loved. Parrish as Jesus was perfectly cast not only because of his superbly underrated voice, but also because of his infectious madcap energy (which he was also able to tone down for the more somber parts of the musical). The rest of the ensemble are as diverse and free-spirited as their movie counterparts and all-around excellent. They were so great that the first time I saw the show with half the ensemble replaced by their understudies, you really couldn't tell that who you were watching were last-minute replacements. They were all that good. The theater-in-the-round aspect took some getting used to as well as sitting on pillows right up against the stage, but all of that just added to the engrossing experience. The stage itself reminded me of Mary Poppin's bag with water, trampolines, and many props coming forth from its depth at various points. While the songs remain mostly the same, the script is of course tailored specifically for our times and our situation. There are references to Occupy Wall Street, Lindsay Lohan, the GOP race, and Britney Spears among others. See the brief trailer/montage of the show below:

After the jump, listen to a clip of Hunter Parrish singing one of the show's songs "Beautiful City."

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