I first saw Godspell on Broadway as a young girl back in the 70s (I know I know, I’m old) and fell in love with it forever. As one of my favorite all-time musicals, I was counting down the days until I could catch its return to Broadway. Well now it’s back, and my advice: if you’ll be in the NY area any time soon, get tickets, stat.
It’s a pure joy.[don’t miss a great discount code for tickets after the jump!}
For the uninitiated, Godspell is the Gospell according to
Matthew as told through wonderful song, dance, and parables brought to
life as if they were fast-paced SNL sketches. (My daughter was partial to the sheep and the goats.)
This revival brings
together an absolutely brilliant, energetic (emphasis on energetic) young cast,
starring the majorly talented Hunter Parrish
of Weeds and Spring Awakening fame, as Jesus. But I
wouldn’t be surprised if every one of them goes onto big success. There
sure is some talent on that stage.
You simply can’t help but
have a good time here. The new arrangements are vibrant and appropriately
contemporary, and the choreography is great fun. The script is heavy
with 2011 pop culture references, which has been a bit controversial
among critics, but I think it’s spot-on. Consider that this is a play originally written to reflect its times–the 70s era Godspell
featured Jesus in a Superman tee and Mork from Orc suspenders surrounded
by hippie disciples in tie-dye–so it makes sense that now the
references are to Lindsay Lohan instead of Mae West; Charlie Sheen
instead of Groucho Marx. Also expect nods to the Beastie Boys, The
Matrix, Occupy Wall Street, and Donald Trump.
does not end up in heaven.)
Speaking of which, the timeliness of
the revival is almost uncanny, what with parallels between Jesus’s
condemnation of the rich and what’s happening right now in New York,
just 70 or so blocks south of the Circle in the Square Theater. Here,
Jesus is clearly a liberal.
As for kids, I’d say they’re ready
for this one around six, but you know your own kid’s attention span best.
The show is performed in the round and every seat is a good one; plus
the stadium seating means squirmy kids up dancing to Light of the
World won’t disturb anyone.
My 4-year was having the time of her life–until we got to the decidedly more solemn
second act. She was upset by the inevitable ending; after all, they
killed “her favorite character.” It was a huge relief to see him come
back on the stage at the end for bows. But if you have a kid who’s
easily upset, maybe a bathroom run during the crucifixion is in order.
this a religious play? Well, it is and it isn’t. As someone not of the
Christian faith, I enjoy the storytelling the same way you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy Fiddler on the Roof. But whatever your beliefs, you might
consider having a conversation about the story with the kids before you
go to set the agenda–and do prep them for the second act.
also should be prepared to have Day by Day stuck in your head for
the rest of your life. –Liz
You can find Godspell tickets through
the website, and use code GSMDR79 for $79.50 tickets! ($89.50 on Saturday nights). That’s a great price for Broadway. Valid through 12/23/11, with some black-out dates.
Thank you so
much to Mama Drama for
providing review tickets.