Margaret Hair: ‘Godspell’ boasts strong singing
Vocals highlight opening night of local theater performance
October 19, 2007
Of the two Jesus musicals – “Jesus Christ Superstar” being the other one, “Godspell” has more room for uplifting messages, creative staging and ad-libbed lines.
In the Steamboat Mountain Theater-produced “Godspell,” that room for interpretation is handled well, with not-so-subtle jabs at city politicking thrown into its telling of Biblical parables.
A collection of stories about Jesus and his disciples, “Godspell” starts out loose and sunny, then takes a somewhat unsure turn for the narrative in the second act, where the songs are a little less happy and the staging is harder to come up with.
The cast members handle that shift extremely well, with standout vocal performances throughout the show.
The singing, particularly on solo numbers such as “Day By Day,” is strong, and there’s no question that the actors know their cast recordings well.
With a small group in a small theater, voices are left exposed, so solid singing from everyone is crucial. As a chorus, the cast functions well, locking in on the generally happy feeling these songs are supposed to leave for the audience.
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Balancing those voices, especially when the cast is going to be moving about the audience, is crucial, too, and might be something to work out for future performances.
As Jesus, high school junior Ian Noble is appropriately joyful, confident, at times slightly clueless, and in the end, somber. He’s joined by a cast of eight actors that boasts siren voices and uninhibited comic relief.
Because of its ensemble cast, “Godspell” as a show requires endurance from its actors.
That endurance is put to the test here, with a multi-leveled set that has its purpose for making the scenes relevant to Steamboat, but in the end is a little busy. However, the band, which miraculously doesn’t cover up the mostly un-mic-ed actors, is cleverly hidden under one of the platforms.
“Godspell” runs through Saturday, with shows at 7 p.m. today and at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday. It’s very good for community theater – ambitious and definitely worth seeing.
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