Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Godspell: Beautiful Show

By • Jul 25th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Act III Theatre Company’s production of Godspell [MP3 3:39 1MB].

Laura: This weekend we saw The Act III Theatre Company, a division of Encore Stage & Studio, production of Godspell in Arlington, Virginia.

Mike: Godspell is a musical based on the Gospel of St. Matthew. The music and the lyrics are by Stephen Schwartz and the book was by John Michael Tebelak.

Laura: I enjoyed this production very much. I though the colors were very bright. It did feel kind of 70ish, but that’s not a bad thing. I enjoyed the songs, the music, the singing. They really seemed to enjoy what they were doing; getting into their parts. I like it.

Mike: This was a really large cast. The main character was Jesus. He was played by Scott Davis. He did a really good job. There were several solos that he had. Those came across really well. He also had a few songs where he came across with members of the chorus. He had a few duets. One with Judas, that was really well done as well.

Laura: The second main character in Godspell had two roles. John the Baptist and Judas was played by Matthew Heap. He did a really good job. He had a nice voice. It was interesting because everybody else had colorful costumes. Whereas he was in black and white and had a Yin and Yang necklace on, which contrasted very much his good versus evil characters. When he became Judas it was interesting to watch. At the beginning when he was John the Baptist he had his hair all slicked back. Then when he became Judas he put on a black leather jacket, I think he messed his hair up a little bit, and he took off his glasses. So that was an interesting change.

Mike: The entire cast did well with the singing. There were little vignettes that were told or parables that were told during the show. Some of them were sung, some of them were acted out. The singers all did pretty well, but some of the singers don’t have quite enough volume yet. Since the Encore Stage doesn’t have their own sound equipment. They are limited in how they can set up the sound equipment for their singers. One of the singers that did really well with the song, “Oh Bless the Lord, My Soul,” was Ivana Alexander. She did really well with her song. She just belted it out and did a great job with it.

Laura: The set was good. It was a simple set. It was one set that took place in an inner city lot. The main props were pieces of wood that they moved around to make tables and planks out of. So it was really good. I thought it was effective. The scenery didn’t detract from the message of Godspell.

Mike: One thing that I really liked was they did not restrict themselves to just using the stage. The actors came through the aisles including the final scene once Jesus had been crucified. They carried his body through the auditorium. That was very nicely done.

Laura: Godspell had mostly women in the cast. That’s something we’re starting to notice. when we see shows and talked with people in the past. They always seem to audition more women than men. Haven’t quite figured out why that is, but we’ll come up with more observations later. They don’t seem to have a problem casting women and they’re always desperately sending out emails asking for men to audition to shows.

Mike: Godspell is playing through July 30th. On Friday night at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 and 8 PM, and then Sunday at 2 PM at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

One Response »

  1. I saw Godspell on the last Saturday night performance. It was one of the slowest moving shows I’ve seen. When reading over Mike and Laura’s review (, it did appeal to the show and was honest but it missed a lot of the other aspects of the show that brought the production down.

    First, the acting was simply exceptional. Casting such a large cast took away from the feel of the show, also since from time to time many actors would have an “out of character” blank stare on their face.

    The actors’ vocals were good but didn’t have any charisma or enthusiasm behind the their voices most of the time. The only song that was stood out was Bless the Lord sung by Ivanna.

    The choreography, by Margie (also the director), was simple, which can be good, but also very elementary and after various repetition of the same step, boring.

    A lot of the directorial decisions were not in favor of the show. The cast seemed to simply recite the scripted parts of the show when performing the parables when clearly it states in the script by John Michael Tabelak that the cast is to work as an ensemble to take the general idea out of each parable and improvise to make it their own, using the casts special talents, and so on. This was obviously missed in the show, taking away from the concept of Tebelak’s writing. Next, decisions such as blowing bubbles and having a bubble machine during a serious and climatic song, such as “By My Side”, took away from the mood of the scene.

    The lights were actually done well. Sound was good most of the time. The set accommodated the show very well and the “rising flowers” at the end of the show were really well done. Costuming was average, nothing special, but it defiantly did fit and work out.

    Nonetheless, the show did have a select few performers who knew what they were doing and were actually talented but unfortunately, the rest of the cast overshadowed them.

    Overall, the show seemed to drag and made most the audience restless. Unless you have family members or friends in it to support, I don’t recommend seeing Godspell at Act III.