Godspell - First Preview Tonight

Mattbrain
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight#1
Posted: 10/13/11 at 9:14pm
Anybody going that can post reviews?
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broadfan327
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #2
Posted: 10/13/11 at 9:39pm
It is off to a great start. Saw the composer in the lobby.
mrl762
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #2
Posted: 10/13/11 at 9:41pm
Please keep posting, want to know all about it !!!!
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #3
Posted: 10/13/11 at 9:42pm
I would love a picture of the pre show set up as well :)
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #4
Posted: 10/13/11 at 9:44pm
Yes! Lots of details...please!
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #5
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:22pm
I'm back from the show and I absolutely did not care for it, and found the whole thing to be a giant mess. To preface I performed Godspell in high school like so many others, and am fairly familiar with the show.

They have completely rewritten the book for the worse- there are jokes about shake-weights, friending God on Facebook, Steve Jobs sending us the new iPad from heaven (in rather poor taste) and of course an obligatory Wicked reference (during "Turn Back, O Man" she whispers, "for the first time I feel Wicked.")

The songs have been reorchestrated to sound like Top 40 Kelly Clarkson/Pink pop-rock anthems. "Day by Day" now includes a rock section so they can do the Electric Slide. The Chicken Dance and the Macarena are also performed.

The Tower of Babel opening is sung acapella into cell phones, complete with iPhone and Blackberry beeps and dings. It is a confusing mess and they need to make clear what is happening. You could barely make out a word anyone was saying. The sound needs a ton of work, but that can obviously be forgiven at the first preview.

"Learn Your Lessons Well," which is normally a kind of throwaway song has been turned into a big rock number with tons of choreography. They also unnecessarily reprise it at the top of act 2 with full on American riffs and ornamentation.

Although some of the songs are rough it's the book scenes that are insufferable. There is a sense of desperation on the behalf of the creative team to be as current and modern as possible. The king in one parable is played like Donald Trump, with references to The Apprentice and all his Trump Towers. They mimic Charlie's Angels and The Price is Right in that same vignette.

Maybe they feared Godspell becoming a museum piece, but I think the material would be better served to be presented as it originally was. The show is very much a product of it's time, and let it remain that way. It will play much better.

The performers are in earnest, and I actually really like Anna Maria Perez de Tagle. Sadly, and I really wanted to love him, but Hunter Parrish was not up to the task. I don't know if he shot his voice in rehearsals, but he was really straining to sing the songs. "Alas for You" was especially rough, but none of it felt comfortable in his voice. I get that you don't need Paulo Szot to sing the score, but he didn't cut it for me.

I did feel the staging worked in the round. Unlike "The Miracle Worker" a few seasons ago you didn't feel like you missing anything, at least visually.
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #6
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:25pm
I'm seeing it tomorrow. How was Lindsay Mendez? I'm trying to go in with an open mind, but I thought the clips featured here a couple of weeks ago were horrendous.
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #7
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:25pm
I wouldn't blame the creative team quite so much for the show seeming overly modern and forced- the first page of the licensed script usually says something along the lines of "This is a template, not a script. Improvise and make modern!"

The issue here, it appears, is not so much that "the jokes are too modern and topical" but that "the jokes aren't funny, or just don't work." In that case, the answer, according at least to how Godspell is recommended to be produced, isn't "go back to the gags from the Sixties," but "find new ones."
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #8
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:34pm
Kalimba- Lindsay Mendez is fine. She was one of the three guilty of American Idol riffing on the "Learn Your Lessons Well" reprise. I don't get why oversinging and pretending you're Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey makes for good singing...
Otherwise she was fine.

darquegk- If the script is not in fact a script why license anything at all? Why not have every high school, church group and regional production come up with their own script. I can respect the sentiment that it doesn't need to be rigidly performed the same way every time, but adding jokes about Shake-Weights might not be what they had in mind.

There also was a joke in "Turn Back, O Man" saying, "You can occupy my circle in the square anytime," something along those lines. Does it get any more "modern and topical?" When this happens it ends up becoming nothing more than a Jay Leno monologue. Yes the jokes aren't funny, well maybe funny bad, but in my opinion it's because they're trying to be too modern and topical.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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egghumor
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #9
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:36pm
O, Lordy, Have Mercy, Whizzer! First of all, let me disclose that I never thought mounting GODSPELL on Broadway these days was a good idea. From your description WMTJM, this production sounds desperately appalling, and likely to become infamous in the annals of flop revivals. It sounds like theater fans should flock to this one in previews as this wrongheaded enterprise could easily go down in flames quickly. Fast-acting folks may be able to one day claim, "I saw the disastrous Broadway revival of GODSPELL of 2011!"
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #10
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:39pm
One more revival that won't be competing against Follies for the Tony: check.

Seriously, yikes. I don't like the show, but many people involved deserve a better production.
"Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos."-Stephen Sondheim
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WithoutATrace
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #11
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:40pm
I wonder if the creative team for this show saw VIA GALACTICA back in 1972 - that show also had trampolines in it. During "We Beseech Thee," ten floorboards opened up on stage to reveal trampolines. Each actor got to jump up and down on them during the song! I kind of loved that part (in a horrendous dreadful kind of way).

VIA GALACTICA played seven performances on Broadway. This revival of GODSPELL will surely trump that - but not by much!
broadfan327
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #12
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:42pm
I went in being unfamiliar with the show. I enjoyed it a lot more than Whizzer. I agree they are trying too hard with the book, it comes off as corny. I thought the performances were great though, although I agree about Hunter's voice. To his defense he has a lot of dialogue in the show, so he wore it out in rehearsal. I liked the staging. The problem the show will have is it's appeal will be limited to youths. How was the original book in comparison?
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #13
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:43pm
The songs have been reorchestrated to sound like Top 40 Kelly Clarkson/Pink pop-rock anthems. "Day by Day" now includes a rock section so they can do the Electric Slide. The Chicken Dance and the Macarena are also performed.

Bwahahahaha! Is it so bad it is good? It seems that poor Ken Davenport never saw that dreadful national tour that played a few years ago. This sounds a lot worse!
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #14
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:45pm
It has the chicken dance in it???? Now I MUST see it!
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WithoutATrace
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #15
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:48pm
The critics will crucify this production. Honestly, if you want to see this disaster live, go in previews. If I weren't so busy with other shows in October, I would go back in previews...some of the staging is not to be believed.
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #16
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:50pm
Is it sad that this thread has made me more excited to see this show? haha! I love a good laugh. That being said, what exactly did the lotto seats entail. In his blog, Davenport was saying how these people would be "in the show" and put Spring Awakening on stage seats to shame. Curious as to what they actually are...
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #17
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:54pm
blaxx- I don't know if it's so bad it's good. I sat there cringing and in horror for parts of it.

Jordan- yes they do the chicken dance to celebrate the return of the prodigal son. I didn't know what to think. That parable is a mess. It includes a section where Telly "wins" an Oscar for performing sound bites of all these famous roles, including Scarlett O'Hara. Someone then hands him an Oscar and he says, "They liked me! They really liked me!!"

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #18
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:55pm
If they do the electric slide and the chicken dance at the same time I'm SO in!
Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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WithoutATrace
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #19
Posted: 10/13/11 at 11:57pm
A few of the lotto winners got to come up on stage and play pictionary and charades...and one guy got to act in one of the parables. They were all sitting on cushions right next to the stage...not in regular seats...and at one point they all had to take their cushions and hold them up for the audience to see. I'm glad I was sitting further back...

and there is a post-show lotto to get a backstage tour. You have to put your names in and only one winner is drawn. The "tour" must have been very brief, because the winners were in and out of there in about five minutes!
Updated On: 10/13/11 at 11:57 PM
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #20
Posted: 10/14/11 at 12:02am
I bought a ticket to this a while back after a week of being obsessed (again) with the post-911 creepiness of the film. After seeing that dreadful rehearsal footage, I chose to eat the price of my (heavily discounted) ticket and go with Lysistrata Jones, for that slot of my trip,instead. Seems like a wise choice, at this point. Maybe it'll fold quickly out of sheer embarrassment and I'll get a refund!
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #21
Posted: 10/14/11 at 12:03am
Just because it says it is a template and make modern does not mean do an overhaul. You can do those things with the original script and source material. There are plenty of moments in the show especially in the parables where you can give them a modern twist with changing dialogue.
"I think lying to children is really important, it sets them off on the right track" -Sherie Rene Scott-
Updated On: 10/14/11 at 12:03 AM
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #22
Posted: 10/14/11 at 12:09am
E. Davis- Obviously I agree. Using the script as a template and adding "Steve Jobs has given us the iPad from heaven" jokes are not the same thing. Not only was the Steve Jobs joke in bad taste since he just passed, but to my knowledge Jobs was a self-proclaimed Buddhist and wouldn't be up in heaven sending the cast of Godspell iPads.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #23
Posted: 10/14/11 at 12:15am
Apparently, Morgan James was out of the show tonight due to an injury incurred during tech.

Can anyone in attendance confirm that? I know her understudy went on for one of the dress rehearsals.
Tonya Pinkins: Then we had a "Lot's Wife" last June that was my personal favorite. I'm still trying to get them to let me sing it at some performance where we get to sing an excerpt that's gone.
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Updated On: 10/14/11 at 12:15 AM
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Godspell - First Preview Tonight #24
Posted: 10/14/11 at 12:17am
^ She was out, but she sprained her ankle about a week and a half ago. I talked to her understudy Julia Mattison at the stagedoor and she said that Morgan could be out for another 2 weeks.