"Godspell" is not your typical musical. There is no real story or plotline, no boy meets girl romantics. Instead we have a really fun Jesus teaching His disciples parables and stories illustrating how we should move in the world, how love is the most important lesson we’ll ever learn.
And the actors are seldom still. Jumping and grooving to the incredible Godspell Orchestra, singing from the heart, from the soul and sometimes even deeper, these actors/singers/dancers pulled me in from the first note.
The "Godspell" Jesus played by Jake Stern, is not the quiet contemplative philosopher we’re comfortable with. Instead he teaches his followers with a rock beat, encouraging them to act out the parables, sometimes in hilarious fashion. Sometimes they lead us into a soft -- shoe dalliance, as in “All for the Best” with Jesus and Judas (Graham Parkhurst) and sometimes into sultry jazz as in “Turn Back O Man” sung by Alessia Lupiano.
Jannell Murray is breathtaking, taking us to new heights with that incredible voice of hers. She has a range every singer on earth would envy. Her vocal tour de force on “Learn Your Lessons Well” is perfection.
"Godspell" is a raucous, loud, energetic take on familiar Christian lessons and parables that makes those stale Sunday School stories spring to life with new insight and meaning. To my mind Godspell is far from sacrilegious as some suggested when the movie was released way back in 1975. It is instead a relevent, reverent and revealing look at what we thought we knew, who we thought we were and where we lost focus in our lives.
It’s also one of the best times I’ve ever had at the theater.
"Godspell" plays the Peabody Opera House through Sunday, November 17th. For more information: www.PeabodyOperaHouse.com