Sunday, November 13, 2011

Godspell ***

(Always click on the title to see the complete review!)
I must be one of three people on the planet who have never seen Godspell either on stage or screen. My reaction to the current Broadway revival at Circle in the Square is therefore uncontaminated by previous exposure or expectations. Neither its music (by Stephen Schwartz) nor its topic (the Gospel of Matthew) is something that would normally attract me, but curiosity led me to take the plunge and buy a ticket. On the whole, I was glad I did. The nonstop energy and prodigious talent of the cast go a long way to offset the show's gimmickry and simplistic core. The choreography by Christopher Gattelli is very lively and makes excellent use of theater in the round. The book really does not provide much opportunity to develop distinctive characters. Casting the same actor (Wallace Smith) as John and Judas sounds more interesting than it is. Hunter Parrish is adequate but not memorable as Jesus. Daniel Goldstein's direction rarely lets things flag. The many groups in the audience included a bunch of nuns, who looked very happy at play's end.

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