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Castaways Repertory Theatre Godspell

By • May 17th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Godspell
Castaways Repertory Theatre
A.J. Ferlazzo Building, Woodbridge, VA
Through May 21st
2:05, with one intermission
$14/$11 Seniors, Students, Military, PWC employees
Reviewed May 14th, 2011

Godspell is a musical originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It highlights the ministry of Jesus Christ from his parables to his crucifixion as seen through the Gospel of Matthew.

While somewhat simple in staging, this story of ragtags coming to follow Jesus was enjoyable. Brian Johnson as Jesus took command of the stage, making his character likable and drawing the crowds to him. He had a fairly strong voice that seemed only to waiver on the top notes. His emotions on the crucifixion came across as believable.

Another favorable performer was Eric Worcester in the dual role of John the Baptist and later Judas Iscariot. Worcester was able to make both characters different, both in personality and costume. He was able to be a presence on stage even when he was not specifically involved with a scene. Always lurking about in the shadows, his betrayal of Jesus came across as sincere.

The rest of the ensemble fit together well, reacting and playing their parts with enthusiasm. The costumes, designed and constructed by Shirley Attanaro, Sabrina Chandler, Claudia Tameris, as well as the cast, were bright and colorful giving the show the right kind of free spirit, 70’s look and feel, without resorting to tie-dyed shirts. Several of the solos were also well done. “By My Side” performed by Rachel Harrington was strong and well done. Richard Yingling’s song “All Good Gifts” carried beautifully and was accentuated by the emotion he carried. Eleven-year-old Burke Romans-Murray gave a beautiful rendition of “We Beseech Thee.” The use of a single pianist (Jonathan Blank) allowed the singers to be heard both during the singing and speaking portions of the performance and also fit well into the straightforward music. Brian Miller occasionally supplemented the music with an electric guitar.

Some of Nancy Owens’ lighting designs were hindered by the limits of the theatre. At one point Yingling went down to the front of the stage onto the floor and because there was no lighting he was basically in black. This took away some of the emotion from the action going on up on stage. The light effects during “All For the Best” were very colorful and perfectly accented the joyous mood of the song.

There were a few points when the cast was swaying side to side, but they weren’t in sync with each other, resulting in a disorganized look. But it could almost be argued that was intentional, as the group of followers was still learning how to be a cohesive unit following Jesus.

Hard work and dedication went into making Godspell an enjoyable production.

Photo Gallery

Eric Worcester (Judas), Brian Johnson (Jesus) Brian Johnson (Jesus); Eric Worcester (Judas)
Eric Worcester (Judas), Brian Johnson (Jesus)
Brian Johnson (Jesus); Eric Worcester (Judas)
Rachel Harrington (Peggy); Meganne Johnson (Gilmer), Brian Johnson (Jesus), Amy Treat (Sonia), Sabrina Chandler (Sabrina) Brian Johnson (Jesus); Jasmine Bull (Jasmine); Lynn Lacey (Lynn), Richard Yingling (Lamar), Eric Worcester (Judas)
Rachel Harrington (Peggy); Meganne Johnson (Gilmer), Brian Johnson (Jesus), Amy Treat (Sonia), Sabrina Chandler (Sabrina)
Brian Johnson (Jesus); Jasmine Bull (Jasmine); Lynn Lacey (Lynn), Richard Yingling (Lamar), Eric Worcester (Judas)

Photos by Jim Jenkins

Cast

  • Jesus: Bian Johnson
  • Sonia: Amy Tret
  • Gilmer: Meganne McCawley Johnson
  • Peggy: Rachel Harrington
  • Joanne: Denise Mattingly
  • Robin: Samantha Reau
  • Judas/John the Baptist: Eric Worcester
  • Lamar: Richard Yingling
  • Herb: Harry J. Kantrovich
  • Jeffrey: Burke Romans-Murray
  • Ensemble: Jasmine Bull, Collin Chandler, MacKenzie Chandler, Sabrina Chandler, Lauren Janke, Tammy Janke, Lynn Lacey, Brian Miller, Claudia Tameris, Gavin Tameris

Crew

  • Director: Zina Bleck
  • Assistant Director: Harry Kantrovich
  • Choreographer: Marji Jepperson
  • Assistant Choreographer: Amy Treat
  • Music Director: Jonathan Blank, Rachel Harrington
  • Stage Manager: Alex Deigh
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Shirley Attanaro
  • Set Design: Gavin Tameris
  • Set Construction & Painting: Gavin Tameris, assisted by Brian Johnson, Samanth Reau, Har’el Romans Murray, Eric Worcester
  • Set Decoration/Dressing: Zina Bleck, Sabrina Chandler, Pat Janell, Claudia Tameris
  • Properties: Pat Janell
  • Lighting Design: Nancy Owens
  • Sound Design: Rich Prein
  • Costume Design Coordination: Shirley Attanaro, Sabrina Chandler, Claudia Tameris, The Cast
  • Makeup Design: The Cast
  • Hair Design: The Cast
  • Board Operators & Running Crew: Erin DeCaprio, Becky Farris, K. Goins-Williams, Rich Prien
  • House Manager: Kathy Sahlberg
  • Box Office: Lynn Taylor
  • Program: Julie Little
  • Photographer: Jim Jenkins

Disclaimer: Castaways Repertory Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. Also, be aware that Laura was the assistant stage manager for CRT’s fall 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.

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