A new, updated version of the 70s Broadway hit, “Godspell” ushered in EGAGS! Theatre Company’s step out of the campy and into the traditional mode of theatrical productions at the premiere, Sat. March 1 at the Off Center Theatre inside Kansas City’s Crown Center.
“Godspell” (2012) took the classic musical that was such a hit years ago and updated the music, added some current technology touches, changed the music to more difficult compositions, added some tinges of rap, hip hop, and other types but still kept the original concept in tact. Bravo to the renovation of a great show that clowns its way through the teachings of Jesus as told in the “Gospel of Matthew” from the Bible.
EGADS! produced a splendid, lively, fun theatrical experience for Kansas City audiences with the updated show. The show is great for all ages and is a great way to infuse Biblical teachings to a younger generation that will enjoy the clown aspect of the show. Bring the kids. They will adore this telling of the gospel.
“A mega-hit on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and around the world, "Godspell" has been radiantly revisited and revived in 2012,” a spokesman for EGADS! said. “A high-energy romp, this all-ages-appropriate musical is loosely based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew and features a sparkling score by Stephen Schwartz that boasts a string of well-loved songs, led by the international hit, "Day by Day."
Director Stephen Eubank said "Godspell" (2012) l is chocked full of some witty songs and others that are emotionally stirring, This cast for "Godspell" overflows with KC's youthful rising stars will keep the audience laughing, and cheering along with them throughout this fast-paced show.
The story of "Godspell" reflects the teachings of Jesus as told in the New Testament in The Gospel according to Matthew. "Godspell" uses the parables of Jesus and plays them out in live action and song. The show uses various theatrical traditions such as clowning, pantomime, and vaudeville. "Godspell" features a ground-breaking and unique reflection on the life of Jesus, with a message of love, kindness, tolerance, and community, Eubank said.
Eubank, a known director in the Kansas City market always finds the right actors for his productions, and many times, chooses an unknown or lesser known talent if he sees him or her as perfect for his vision of the show. Such casting allows for new talents to come into the limelight and fosters the development of up-and-comers. It the case of “Godspell” (2012) Matthew King gets the chance to step forward as Jesus and deliver a high caliber performance.
Obvious leads for the show went to King and Samn Wright. Both quality actors who effortlessly play their way through the show. Eubank’s version hits on all cylinders as the ensemble cast just melds together into one unit with no one standing out from another. They all have their solo pieces and then just dissolve back into the ensemble.
King’s vocals are sublime. He’s got the perfect tone and pitch for Jesus and plays the part with a huge smile on his face. He exudes peace, charm, and appeal. To balance his character, Wright portrays John the Baptist and Judas. Wright makes Judas a non-villain, and likeable chap. This is helped by the costumes, music, and lightness of the entire play. Wright’s vocals are strong and his stage presence is more dominant as Judas. The two sparkle as opposing forces.
Opening night, saw a large crowd in what was expected to be a small crowd. A severe winter storm was coming and for days Kansas City meteorologists had predicted 5-9" of snow and told everyone to stay in unless they had to travel. The snow began about two hours before opening the curtain. Still, after the show, no significant snowfall had deposited on the streets. Opening night drew about 80 persons, which would have been more under different weather conditions.
A standing ovation signaled the success of the new production. And, throughout the show, many songs drew loud approval. Many of the antics of the cast brought hearty laughs throughout the performance. The show is not to be missed.
The Kansas City cast features Matthew King (Jesus) and Samn Wright (John the Baptist/Judas). The cast also includes: Chelsea Anglemyer, Josh Atkins, Christopher Carlson, Kenna Hall, Ryan Hruza, Kelsea McLean, Sarah Morrissey, and Stefanie Stephens.
Steven Eubank leads the creative team as director along with Associate Director Tyler Parsons. He is joined by Kevin Bogan and Julie Danielson as musical directors and Tiffany Powell as choreographer assisted by Amy Hurrelbrink. Jeff Eubank designs sound, Alex Perry designs lights and set. Aaron Chvatal designs the costumes.
Previews begin February 28; opening night is Saturday, March 1 and the show closes Sunday, March 23.
"Godspell" revived on Broadway in 2012 to glowing reviews and now comes to Crown Center through EGADS! Theatre Company. Theatre Company was voted "Best Local Theater Company" in 2011 and 2012 by the Pitch readers. The New Your Times said of the 2012 revival “Breezy, sing-a-long pop score.”
For tickets and information, patrons can call the box office at (816) 545-6000 or visit www.egadstheatre.com. Group rates available. Off Center Theatre is located in Crown Center – 2450 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64109.