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Musical Review: ‘Godspell’ Might have been more Entertaining in the 70’s

The wonderful music sung by these great actors doesn’t ignore the fact that the Winspear Opera House’s production of Godspell felt like it should have been played in an after school special.

I can’t rag on the premise of the musical because it has been a Broadway classic for decades.  Personally a musical interpretation, that feels more like a lesson of the parables from the Gospel of Matthew, just isn’t my cup of tea.  However, the amazing actors who starred in the Dallas production delivered incredible vocals, and filled the stage with energy.  And the stain glass background made for a relevant and beautiful set. Director David Hogan gave audiences a color full set, and made sure his cast worked well with the limited amount of space on stage.  On the other hand the immature dance moves choreographed by Adele Mackenzie are unimpressive and a little cheesy.

What was flawless was the variety of talented voices among the cast.  Lead by the standout voice of the group, Jake Stern, who not only looks like Jesus but gives a sincere performance as him.   This guy easily had the best voice of the cast, who were all vocally gifted.  Stern’s angelic and soulful voice is made for Broadway.  Graham Parhurst did a fantastic job as the antagonist in this play, adding some drama and mixing things up for the incredibly peppy cast.  And the entire cast started off the play right with an engaging, harmonized a cappella opening number.  I just wish the rest of the play could have been that enjoyable.  You don’t feel that kind of interest until the finale.  This musical just felt a little campy, with the overly excited characters and the constant assurance for the audience understanding the messages of each parable.  I really felt like I was watching an educational skit.

Even the current inside jokes made through out the play felt forced and tacky.  Some of the jokes felt outdated. Godspell was not as exciting for some as it may have been for others, but when I saw the people around me walk out of the musical mid Act I, I did feel envious.

Godspell wouldn’t be my first musical choice, but for those who enjoyed any previous performances they had seen before, this show could be a fun and nostalgic experience.

The show will be running at the Winspear Opera House until Sunday March 2nd.

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