Review of GODSPELLPublished: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 By: Nancy Sasso Janis Source: ONSTAGE
The directors decided to include the sometimes eliminated Prologue/Tower of Babble and had the cast wear jackets and glasses with sashes indicating which philosopher they were quoting in the cacophony. It worked nicely for me. There were references during the parables to Santa Claus, ‘The Lion King,’ and Donald Trump. There was a parachute integrated into the cute choreography at one point and the storytellers headed into the audience with flashlight “spotlights” during “Light of the World.” (I remember because I sang along when the spotlight hit me.)
The eight cast members took on the solos and there was no chorus; this felt a little small to me, especially on the decent-sized WBT stage. Including Gilbert D. Sanchez as Jesus and Xander Chauncey as both John the Baptist and Judas, there were still only ten actors onstage for the entire show. Despite that fact, the finale was pretty impressive.
The set designed by Steven Loftus featured a sometimes subway car and city brick walls and the ‘West Side Story’ fire escape. I would describe the costumes by Matthew Hemesath as a more contemporary clown look with a Superman tank top for Jesus. As for the sound, I noticed a few lines were delivered before microphones were turned on during this Friday evening performance.
Mr. Sanchez was very believable in the leading role of Jesus and with good reason. His past Messiah credits include ‘Godspell,’ ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ and the fourth grade Passion Play at his Catholic School. This is his WBT debut.
Mr. Chauncey brought both charm and villainous vibes to his longer role as Judas the betrayer. Josh Kenney sang well “Light of the World” andKereema Castro Khouri had the perfect voice for “Bless the Lord.” Greta Kleckner sang the wonderful “Learn Your Lessons Well.” Nicholas Park did “We Beseech Thee” and Devon Perry (Dorothy in last summer’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’) sang a plaintive “By My Side.” Nathan Andrew Riley took on “All Good Gifts” and Karley Willocks was plenty sultry on “Turn Back, Oh Man.” Sarah Smithton was absolutely adorable in her 'Beetlejuice' inspired costume as she sang “Day By Day.” Kudos to all on their joyous performances.
The evening menu for ‘Godspell’ included the show special Chicken Cordon Bleu, as well as two kinds of pollock, and the large prime rib of beef. I couldn’t finish my pollock stuffed with crab meat but my teen managed to eat all of his roasted boneless pork loin with apples. The specialty cocktail was ‘The Righteous Raspberry.’
Before the show began, the 2015 Bob Fitzsimmons Scholarship, was awarded to Andrew Leonforte, a senior at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY.