Review: UAB Department Of Theatre's GODSPELL Fills You With the Joyful Spirit of Love, Peace, and Community

Get Filled with the Spirit of Love, Peace, and Community.

By: Oct. 14, 2021
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Review: UAB Department Of Theatre's GODSPELL Fills You With the Joyful Spirit of Love, Peace, and Community

The clouds have opened up brothers and sisters. Let us rejoice that live theatre is returning to bloom in Birmingham. Buy a ticket and be of good cheer for the UAB Department of Theatre brings an offering, a fun and energetic performance of the classic Broadway musical 'Godspell".

"Godspell" is hybrid musical of rock, vaudeville, and the New Testament. John-Michael Tebelak's story and music by Stephen Schwartz is a musical theater standard from the 70's. "Godspell" is a celebration of humanity and spirituality, free from any specific religion. It's not a Bible study play, it's a song filled ride about peace, love and hope for us all to be better people in a larger community. The classic songs all glow with a message looking out for your brothers and sisters. This show holds many timeless musical theatre standards. Highlighted songs of the soundtrack include "Day by Day", "Turn Back, O Man", "By My Side", "All For The Best", and "God Save the People."

Review: UAB Department Of Theatre's GODSPELL Fills You With the Joyful Spirit of Love, Peace, and Community

This production captures the emotions found in a contemporary version of Jesus's (Jalen Kirkman) life, teachings, betrayal and death. The ensemble delivers with focused characters, voices and comical timing. They all work in syncopation with tons of energy and killer chorepgraphy. Kirkman's performance as Jesus delivers wisdom and a giving heart. Ford Beshirs as Judas performs a broken man with spirit.

Review: UAB Department Of Theatre's GODSPELL Fills You With the Joyful Spirit of Love, Peace, and Community

Directors Cheryl Hall and Roy Lightner capture the free spirited 70's but set the play in a timeless space without any boundaries. Modern touches such as cell phones, audio soundscapes, and current events are successfully implemented into the play without detraction. They make great use of a vaudevillian's toolbox. Pantomime, slapstick, dance, puppets, props. The result is momentum that carries solid energy through the 2 hour performance. There is no intermission so make sure you take it easy on the holy water before the show.

Review: UAB Department Of Theatre's GODSPELL Fills You With the Joyful Spirit of Love, Peace, and Community

The formidable cast interacts often as a collective. The staging successfully supports the players as they sing and move about. Each actor brings commitment to character and shares jubilant energy during the show. It was wonderful to see them having as much fun as the audience. That fed into the dynamic of the story itself. They were each sharing a stage but also acting as an emotional collective. It built a moving experience that brought honest joy and hope.

Costume designer Sharon Morgan dresses the cast in clothes that are fresh, vibrant, and full of color. Musical Director Carolyn Violi leads a tight orchestra that delivers great energy into songs cut from various genres.

Review: UAB Department Of Theatre's GODSPELL Fills You With the Joyful Spirit of Love, Peace, and Community

Scenic designer Cliff Simon brings an energetic open space that is without confinement. Colorful oranges, yellows and blues give the stage a surreal but inviting feel. Raised industrial platforms help fill the space and provide cubbies for the musicians seated above the cast.

There were issues of projection and pitch in various spots. Given the actors are performing with masks on, challenges are to be expected.

Review: UAB Department Of Theatre's GODSPELL Fills You With the Joyful Spirit of Love, Peace, and Community

You will enjoy "Godspell" with much enthusiasm. I was energized in the feeling of hope and unity shared. It is a message we are all craving right now. These young actors are truly spreading the gospel of great musical theatre, day by day.

UAB Department of Theatre

"Godspell" - (Revised 2012 Version)

Book by John-Michael Tebelak
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Directed by Cheryl Hall & Roy Lightner

Stage Manager - Bailey Dumlao
Musical Direction - Carolyn Violi
Choreography - Roy Lightner

Scenic Design - Cliff Simon

Lightning Desing - Kelly Allison

Voice & Tech Coach - Santiago Sosa

CAST:

(Jesus) Jalen Kirkman, (Judas) Ford Beshirs, (John the Baptist) Tyler Arnold. Nina Ballon, Brianna Herdandez, Sadie Farmer, Troy Serena, Jason Torrey, Kara Scullin, Morgan Tapp, Terrell Miller, Ryan Charest, Peyton Griffin

How To Get Tickets

October 13-16 at 7:30pm & October 17 at 2:00pm

The Sirote Theatre

The Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center
1200 10th Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35205

Admission

General $15 & $20, Students $6, UAB Employees & Senior Citizens $10

Tickets - Phone 205-975-2787 or at the Alys Stephens Center Box Office

The performance is without an intermission. Not even for the clergy.

Photo Credit - Taylor Campbell Photography

 


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