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Kensington Arts Theatre 2nd Stage Godspell

By • Apr 8th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage’s production of Godspell [MP3 5:49 2.7MB].

Godspell
Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage
Gaithersburg Arts Barn, Gaithersburg, MD
$16/$14 Gaithersburg Residents
Through April 20th

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio review of Godspell, performed by Kensington Arts Theatre’s 2nd Stage at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Mike and I saw the performance on Sunday afternoon April 6, 2008.

Mike: This production of Godspell attempted to be an all inclusive, non-offensive telling of Godspell. I don’t think it quite hit the mark. It was an ok show. The singing was OK, although some of it was flat and others were pretty good. The choreography was pretty good. The overall concept of the show was pretty good. It was fairly unique being set on the metro, although we did see that done before a few years ago. Overall it was done pretty nicely.

Laura: Overall I thought this was a well done show. Some of the parables that Jesus told they did try to modernize into today’s language. Other parables they left as the traditional story from Matthew. That made it a little inconsistent, but over all I thought it was good.

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: The role of Jesus, one of the metro travelers, was played by Michael Kelley. He did a pretty good job. The dancing and singing that was involved he did pretty well. Overall he had a nice voice. He seemed to genuinely care about the other Metro passengers as he was trying to teach them stories about how to live and love each other. He had a pretty powerful song in the second act, ‘Alas For You.’ He was singing about evil and the hypocrites that were trying to destroy the love God has for everyone.

Mike: Ken Kemp played the roles of John The Baptist and Judas. He started out by simply being a bum asleep on a bench on the Metro. Then he began the song ‘Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord’ and tried to get everyone excited and started baptizing them with a spritzer bottle. That was a little funny because at first I didn’t quite know what he was doing. And then I clicked that he was baptizing them with water.

He did pretty well, but some of the songs I couldn’t quite understand what he was singing. One song that was really hard to understand by either Jesus or Judas was ‘All For The Best’ in the first act. It seemed like it went too fast and their voices were not able to be distinctly heard above the music and the other singers in the group. Also it was interesting that I did not notice when John turned into Judas. In most Godspell productions it was pretty obvious. Looking back at it when it might have happened was when John changed his costume and was all of a sudden wearing a suit and was dressed up as a businessman. I do not know if that was a commentary on businessmen being evil. That may be reading too much into it. But that was the only time I could think where a change might have occurred.

Laura: Overall I think the actors did well. There was a wide range. Talia Brenner, she was ten years old according to the playbill. She had a good song called ‘Learn Your Lessons Well.’

Mike: One thing I found interesting was all the people on the Metro train were keeping in character throughout the entire show. By the end of the show during the song ‘We Beseech Thee’ all the people stayed in character. One character (Celia Blitzer) was playing a married woman and she stayed in that character. There was also a Metro worker (Brandon Mitchell) who stayed as a metro worker worrying about what was going on. The other people seemed to stay in character just as much. Really the only one who changed was John/Judas who switched from character to character. Otherwise I think it was interesting.

Laura: Robin Covington, the director for Godspell, had an interesting vision for the show. She decided to set it on a metro train on the way to Maryland. It was a really unique idea. It was a small set and a small space at the Arts Barn. Everyone was kind of shoved together. There was probably too much invading of personal space when you are that crammed together, but I thought it was an interesting idea. The Set Designer was Joel Richon.

Mike: It was an interesting idea that all these people were simply passengers stuck on a metro train who were thrown together in an awkward situation. One thing about that approach was during the intermission all the actors stayed on stage and the audience members went downstairs at the Arts Barn to get snacks or use the restrooms. Whereas the people on stage stayed on stage. It would have been really cool if they had broken through the fourth wall and come out into the audience and said, “Wow. What’s it like on your train? We have been stuck over here telling stories and things. ” They did not do that however. It was a little bit uncomfortable with only a few people who stayed upstairs during the intermission, but there was no interaction.

The choreography was also done by the show’s director Robin Covington. One of the songs I really liked was ‘Light of the World.’ They had to dance around the metro benches. They did that just fine. They got in each other’s way just a little bit. There were several steel bars representing the handhold bars. They were all at the back of the stage and that worked out pretty well.

Laura: Godspell is playing through Sunday, April 20th. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday matinees at 2 pm at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The show ran approximately two hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission.

Mike: We’d like to invite you to join our free mailing list. Stay informed with what’s happening in the DC region community theater.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

Cast

  • Jesus: Michael Kelley
  • John The Baptist/Judas: Ken Kemp
  • Celia Blitzer
  • Erin Branigan
  • Talia Brenner
  • Bethany Lynn Corey
  • Nichole Davis
  • Brandon Mitchell
  • Shannon Montague
  • Nora Palka
  • Rob White

Crew

  • Director/Choreographer: Robin Covington
  • Music Director/Music Performance: Josh McLane
  • Assistant Director/Lighting Designer: Chris Curtis
  • Producer: Nancy Ostrove
  • KAT 2nd Stage Executive Producer: Donna Jean Garrett
  • Set Designer: Joel Richon
  • Light Board Operator/Assistant Lighting Design: Brian Campbell
  • Consultant: Kevin Garrett
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This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2229.

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.

2 Responses »

  1. “One song that was really hard to understand by either Jesus or Judas was ‘All For The Best’ in the first act. It seemed like it went too fast and their voices were not able to be distinctly heard above the music and the other singers in the group.”

    — this song is a duet. No one but Jesus and Judas sing.

  2. Hi Martha, Thanks for the clarification. Regardless, on that song, the two voices were indistinct.