OAKHURST – The Golden Chain Theatre (GCT) is mounting an extraordinary performance of the musical Godspell, and if the last few plays at the newly-reinvigorated theater are any indication, the show will sell out. Godspell runs at GCT Friday, Mar. 20 through Saturday, Apr. 4.
Organizers at GCT say Godspell is a timeless musical set in the time of Christ.
“A small group of people help Jesus Christ tell various parables, using song, dance, skits and a hefty dose of comic timing.”
Shows are at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and some Sundays will have matinee performances at 2 p.m. No production on Sunday, Apr. 5, aka Easter.
GCT put together an FAQ for potential theater-goers who want to know, if they don’t already, just what they’re in for. Here it is:
What Is the Story of Godspell? The show is composed of various musical parables from The Gospel According to Matthew, say producers at the GCT. “Jesus Christ recruits a group of followers and teaches them various lessons through song and dance. Toward the end of the second act, the show begins to follow a more linear narrative as The storyline follows the passion of Christ.”
What Is Godspell Like? This energetic two-act musical is performed on a large thrust stage in order to get closer to the audience, according to the Theatre. “The show features various musical styles, including rock ‘n roll, pop, R&B, ragtime, rap and more. The eccentrically dressed cast often gathers around Jesus as he tells different stories and sings about his teachings and the importance of love. The cast occasionally plays their own instruments and uses various props, sign language and even shares the stage with a children’s choir to further enhance their storytelling. This new production modernizes the story by making references that are familiar to the present generation. It’s not the hippie/clown style Godspell of the 70’s, but you will still recognize the familiar score. The cast frequently enters the audience and improvs, which adds to the spontaneous and involving atmosphere.”
Is Godspell Good for Kids? Godspell can teach many powerful lessons and values to children, say organizers, and they may enjoy the energetic, silly nature of the show. “Though the second act is more serious in nature, it provides a wonderful opportunity for deep discussions with your children. Our version ends with a jubilant resurrection and makes it the perfect artistic way to celebrate the Easter season.”
I’ve heard Godspell is a blasphemous/religious show. In the past there have been two strong opinions about that, GCT says. “The church-going crowd tends to shy away from the show because of the depiction in the 1971 movie version in which Jesus was portrayed with clown makeup and had a band of hippie followers. The secular crowd didn’t like it because it was a religious musical. We have tried very hard to stay true to the writer (Stephen Schwartz of Wicked fame) and make this a show that will leave people with a feeling of hope, joy, happiness and love. We hope you will come and see for yourself and be pleasantly surprised. Come sing about love.”
Godspell is directed by the proven duo of Jennifer Piccolotti and James Mierkey (Tin Pan Alley, Wonka the Musical), and is Rated G for all audiences. Tickets are available at the new website: www.goldenchaintheatre.org