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Review: GODSPELL at Hanover Little Theatre

Review: GODSPELL at Hanover Little Theatre

Godspell runs now through November 19th.

Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, first opened off-Broadway in 1971. Since then, it has seen numerous tours and revivals, including the 1988 off-Broadway revival, the 2000 off-Broadway revival, and the 2011-2012 Broadway revival and tour. Based on the parables in the Gospel of Matthew, Godspell features an ensemble cast. With the exception of Jesus and John/Judas, the names used for the characters are the cast members' real names. The latest revival of Godspell takes the stage under the direction of Deborah Williams, with assistance from Douglas D. Cooper, and music director Vanessa Rice, at Hanover Little Theatre through November 19th.

While there were definitely some opening night jitters and sound balance and mic issues, this production of Godspell is colorful, campy, joyous fun while conveying meaningful and emotional messages of faith, hope, and love. This ensemble cast features Heather Brown, Sara Myers, Lindsey Ringquist, Joshua Schriver, Elizabeth "Buff" Wills, Alyssa Byers, Paul Norfolk, Louis Salazar, and Ali Stratton, with Mathew Barninger as John the Baptist/Judas and Matthew Hirsh as Jesus. The enthusiasm and energy of this cast grabs onto the audience and does not let go throughout the entire performance. The parables take on new life as the cast acts them out with a modern twist. Every single actor on this stage is one hundred percent engaged in the story, as is evident by their facial expressions and interactions with one another.

Along with tremendous acting, this cast is full of talented musicians as well. Audiences will absolutely enjoy hearing the harmonies in "Save the People", "By My Side", and the "Finale". Sara Myers and Louis Salazar have powerhouse voices that are highlighted beautifully in "Bless the Lord" and "Light of the World". Joshua Schriver's lovely, clear tones are perfect on "All Good Gifts", giving the audience goosebumps and bringing tears to their eyes. For audiences who enjoy the more upbeat songs, "We Beseech Thee" gets the toes tapping and the hands clapping. Matthew Hirsh's performance of "Beautiful City" is, in a word, gorgeous. Barninger (John/Judas) and Hirsh (Jesus) are well-cast. They interact well together on stage, and their performance of "All for the Best" is delightful. As the show moves toward its conclusion with the Last Supper and Crucifixion scenes, the cast's emotional performances hit their peak, making more than one audience member break down in tears.

This production of Godspell is emotional and heartfelt. The sold-out opening night audience was brought to its feet in a well-deserved standing ovation. Ticket are going fast, so visit before it's too late!

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From This Author - Andrea Stephenson

Andrea Stephenson’s love of music and theatre was nurtured by her parents. She started performing as a singer and actor in elementary school, and her passion for the performing arts grew thro... (read more about this author)

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This production of Godspell is emotional and heartfelt. The sold-out opening night audience was brought to its feet in a well-deserved standing ovation.