Godspell is one of the most beloved musicals of our time. The story is almost as old as I am, yet the message never loses its meaning as it transcends the decades. Kind of like a little story known as “The Gospel.”
The beauty of this particular show is the flexibility the artistic team has with the script. Just because you’ve seen it once doesn’t mean it will be the same the next time you attend. Here are 5 reasons this production by Journey Theater Arts Group is unique. I promise, you’ve never seen it quite like this before!
5. Location: Portland
Settings of this musical vary from New York, to local coffee shops, to construction sites, to school detention (shout out to our Everett, WA friends). When I learned this production would be set in my beloved PDX, I could not contain my excitement. All kinds of local references are present in this retelling of Jesus’ parables. I don’t want to spoil everything, but you may see pink donut boxes and the coffee is locally roasted.
4. Jesus and the 36 Disciples
While the original Godspell calls for a cast of 13, Jesus, John the Baptist/Judas, and 11 other Apostles, we’ve got that plus a whole lot more! A cast of 37 kids, ages 8-18, will be singing catchy melodies that will stick in your head for the next week. See if you can guess which Portland neighborhoods each actor represents. (Hint: look for Old Town, Pearl District, Hawthorne, Sellwood, and more!)
3. Kristi Foster
Kristi is the Executive Director for Journey Theater Arts Group, and the director of this production. My friend, Kristi, gets visions that can only be explained as God inspired. She is one of the most spiritual humans you will ever meet and her love for the Lord is contagious. I mean this quite literally. Let me explain:
In the process of directing “Day by Day”, Kristi told the young actress singing the part to look at Jesus, really gaze into his eyes, as he grabs her hand and twirls her around. She asked the actress to see Jesus as her “daddy” and to imagine how proud a daddy is when he sees his daughter growing up, becoming a beautiful woman.
Kristi lost her own father a few years back, and she recounted their daddy/daughter bond to the cast. Then she asked the youth, if this is the love my father had for me, how much more does our Lord love all of us? The kids melted into a puddle of tears.
This is just one example of how Kristi introduced the cast to Jesus in ways they’ve probably never thought about. My own daughters have grown so much in their relationship with the Lord these past 6 weeks, and I credit it all to Kristi. (Well, okay, Kristi AND God.)
|My 2 are the one doing the choking and the one in the background on the left.|
2. My Kids
Yep. Shameless plug because I am the author of this blog and I bet you’ll never see another rendition of Godspell, Jr. with my 2 daughters in it. In case you’re wondering, they play a servant, a “sharer” of the beatitudes, a rapping narrator, and a weed.
While I am always super proud of my girls while they’re on stage, I can honestly say my heart swells with pride for each and every one of their friends under the spotlight with them.
1. The Resurrection
Believe it or don’t, not all Godspell performances include Jesus’ return after his death. When I watched the movie (starring a very young Victor Garber in a very creepy interpretation of the play), I kept the DVD playing until after the credits. Surely they wouldn’t end the movie with Jesus’ death? They did. And from what I’ve heard, some directors choose to end their stage productions in the same way. How depressing!
The absolute BEST part in the story of Jesus is the resurrection! My whole faith in the Gospel depends on it. Kristi’s vision for this telling of Christ’s rising should not be missed. I dare you to watch without tears falling.
Still not sure what Godspell is all about? Lindsey, one of our artistic team members, found this clip from Rosie O’Donnell’s show on OWN from 2011. Give it a listen for a taste of what you’ll hear this coming weekend.