Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2017 by Tony Annicone
The set for the show is by Patricia Cotoia while all the costumes are by Bob DeMattio. Ed Benjamin III stars as Jesus and is excellently cast in this role. One of Jesus' most powerful numbers is "Alas for You" where the words "Alas, alas, alas for you! Blind Fools!!" which rings true today as it did back in biblical times as well as in 1970's when the show was first written. Ed's first song is "Save the People" where the cast dances around him. He also sings "Beautiful City" where he explains that he wants a city for all men. The Last Supper and the death scene are fabulously portrayed not leaving a dry eye in the house including mine. The opening philosophers section has beautiful harmonies in it and is wonderfully performed as they sing individual parts first and then later in harmony. Black and gray costumes are used for this opening segment and then brightly colored costumes are used for the rest of the show.
Michael always does an incredible job on any show that he directs. He gives all his performers their moment to shine in this high energy show. The first act is vaudevillian while the second act becomes more somber after "Turn Back O Man." Samuel Gelman as John the Baptist sings "Prepare Ye" and later becomes Judas where he and Ed stop the show with ""All for the Best" done in counterpoint. "Day by Day'' is given a lovely rendition by Trish St. Laurent with her powerful voice where the disciples learn to share with each other. Another fantastic group dance occurs as Bethany Lynn Giammarco belts out "Bless the Lord."
A rousing number is "We Beseech Thee" with powerful vocals by Chris Margadonna and a dynamite dance by the cast. The betrayal scene is stunning, too. "By My Side" is a dynamic touching duet by Rebecca Kilcline and Stephanie Post. Stephanie also sings "Learn Your Lessons Well." Ron Procopio sings the tear jerking "On the Willows" during the Last Supper as Jesus says goodbye to his followers which leaves the audience in tears. My favorite song in the show is "Turn Back O Man" sung excellently by Christy McCarthy as she tries to seduce the men in the audience as well as Jesus. "All Good Gifts" is sung by Tim Reid with his tenor voice soaring off the charts. Court Stafford sings "Light of the World" which closes the first act. "Long Live God" and "Prepare Ye" are done in counterpoint as Jesus is crucified. The show's ending will leave you emotionally drained at its intensity but uplifted because Jesus left hope for the future. In these trying times who could ask for anything better for the world. So for a marvelous rendition of "Godspell", be sure to catch this version at The Players. To join this 108 year old theatre club, just call Bill Applegate.