2 Ring Circus Premieres Reimagined GODSPELL at Arkansas Repertory Theatre
This production of Godspell is not like any other that you have ever seen or experienced.
With the blessing of Stephen Schwartz, they have placed the show in a realistic environment and location with characters that have a true, legitimate reason to be together and where the characters utilize their specific performing skill sets to tell the story through dynamic circus and enhance the message with excitement and heart.
One can imagine that one of the first things to cross your mind would be, "Didn't we already see this sort of thing with Pippin on Broadway?" To answer that question briefly: actually, no. Where the Pippin production utilized amazing circus throughout the show, the 2 Ring Circus/Donna Drake production of Godspell has a very different element. All of the principal performers, who sing the songs and act the parables, also are the circus performers. They are not just ensemble members who take focus for a moment or two. They sing songs as leading roles while performing the circus acts themselves and so the audience is given not only a heartfelt musical that challenges them to take a look within themselves, but they are given a full circus spectacle that dazzles the eyes and uplifts the score.
On top of the circus aspect of the production, they have also layered on a very important and heartfelt addition. Imagine: The John Judas Family Circus has just played the final performance with their company and the entire operation is to now be sold in foreclosure at auction leaving misfits and outsiders who only know this way of life to hopelessly amble out into the politically and racially tense world of 1968 America. At the same time, a young Evangelical preacher, who has achieved notoriety in his teachings and philosophies, is quite literally on the run from the Authority types who run the world and do not approve of his message, growing strength or color of his skin. He finds himself being taken in by this floundering circus community and in the short time with him, he instills hope, faith and inspires them all to move forward and be lights in the world.
2 Ring Circus and Donna Drake have entered into this production with the desire to confront the audience with social unrest, racial tension, ignorance and to ask them: The show is set in 1968. It is now 2017. Have we learned our lessons?
All of these issues married with the dynamic circus feats and the heart and soul that the company brings to the project have begun to shape this show into a version of Godspell the world has not yet seen.
Watch a teaser for the show below!
The Arkansas Repertory Theatre production played its first preview on May 30, with opening night on June 2, for a run through June 25.
To see more of what 2 Ring Circus has been creating, take a look at www.2RingCircus.com.