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BWW Review: GODSPELL at NM Women's Club


Tri-M Productions, Santa Fe, NM

BWW Review: GODSPELL at NM Women's Club

Full disclosure: I am a musical theater fanatic. Like borderline crazy. I have seen Godspell, been in Godspell, did publicity for Godspell and know this show inside and out. So when I got the call to review, my expectations were high. Tri-M Millennial Music Makers, a new theater company for people age 18 - 35, took on this show with lots of youthful enthusiasm.

The story of Godspell is the Gospel According to St. Matthew and consists of Jesus sharing parables with his disciples, and his disciples emulating those parables through song. It's got a hippie/early 70s quality, via the crazy costumes and the peace/love at its core. The Tri-M ensemble embraces the joy of the piece - special standouts include Julie Anne Shapiro singing Bless the Lord, accompanist and Music Director Kathlene Ritch singing On the Willows and the ensemble number It's All for the Best. Evan Aguilar is also engaging and is the glue that holds the company together as Jesus.

Now for the tough stuff. The Women's Club stage is shallow. Like really shallow. There are a few levels on the floor that would have been better put to use - the 14 person ensemble all crammed on the stage at all times was cumbersome. Possibly due to this obstacle, the choreography was fairly nonexistent and pretty rudimentary, which brought the energy down in several of the uptempo numbers. I just kept wishing for choreography and staging to better serve the ensemble.

Which leads me to my next issue - the ensemble was too large. If it had been 8 to 10 people, there would have been room to stage, and there were several ensemble members left with little to do for much of the performance. I understand the need to pad the ensemble if you are doing a school production, but this group is supposed to be post-school young professionals; it could use more editing next time.

Finally, Tri-M would have money well spent if they invested in a sound system. I was in the front row and still struggled to hear some singers - there isn't a ton of vocal power here (not many belters) - everyone except Kathlene Ritch needed a mic.

New theater groups all have growing pains - Godspell was a great choice for this group to take on, and lessons were no doubt learned. That said, in the end, the enthusiasm of the performers overrode any of the technical issues and the audience appeared to thoroughly enjoy the performance. I look forward to seeing this group continue to grow and evolve in the future.

Jackie Camborde

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