by Lorie Lewis Ham
This past weekend Godspell opened at the Reedley Opera House presented by the Reedley River City Theatre Co. and I had the privilege of actually seeing it twice! This may very well be the best show I’ve ever seen there, and it’s one you won’t want to miss. For a little background, music and lyrics for this show were written by Stephen Schwartz who wrote Wicked.
According to director Mark Norwood, Godspell is essentially the gospel of Matthew set to music. “Godspell is one of my favorite shows. The music is wonderful and does justice to the Greatest Story Ever Told!”
The show opens with everything in black and white, and the mood dark as well. Then Jesus comes on the scene, played by newcomer Alex Barsoom, dressed in Superman colors and emblem (but not tights thankfully), and everything begins to change and transforms into a colorful stage and costumes. A troupe of actors who sort of represent Jesus’ disciples, act out many of the stories of the Bible throughout the show leading up to the dramatic conclusion. The songs range from silly and fun to absolutely incredible—some of which are recognizable such as “Day By Day.” Alex does a wonderful job of portraying Jesus with a presence that just oozes love and joy.
As to producing such a show on the small stage of the Opera House, Mark says it’s an ever present challenge and one he’s well used to. “It is our home and I have come to look upon the quirks as blessings.”
Godspell is not only filled with wonderful stories of God’s love and beautiful music, but a lot of fun and laughter as well with vaudevillian type humor and jokes throughout most of the show. “What is so much fun about producing Godspell is seeing where the cast takes the show,” said Mark. “This cast is so talented and joy filled, and it is proving to be a delightful experience.”
This truly is a wonderful and talented cast, from the voices to the comedic and dramatic acting, to the dancing—the quality of the show is absolutely amazing especially when you consider that this is community theatre. The quality of much of the theatre in this Valley makes it totally unnecessary to travel to Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York to see a great show—you can see one right here in your own back yard.
If you aren’t religious in any way you can still enjoy the beautiful music, great stories and fun of this show, and if you are you will love it even more! Many of the cast and audience were in tears at the end of the show. The program even provides Bible references that the stories and songs tie into if you want to look them up later!
This time out the Opera House not only offers a dinner option but some great specials, so check out their website and their KRL event page for more information and also their KRL event page. The show runs through May 13 and ends up with a Mother’s Day Brunch. This is one you do not want to miss.
Everyone in this cast is a stand out so wanted to mention them all:
Jessica Williams, Sarah Wiebe, Annie Hobbs, Jacob Alvarado, Jessica Ham, Stacie Hall, Alina Myers, Angel Antuna, Jennifer Sandoval, and Alex Barsoom as Jesus and Erik Valencia as Judas and John the Baptist.