I’ve always enjoyed and appreciated the Biblical musical Godspell.
The music is ingrained in my head as much as so many childhood memories of playing baseball, hide-and-seek, playing tag or the incredibly long summer days.
Believe it or not, I remember the 8-track days. My parents had a console as big as a bookshelf laid horizontally. We would cram the 8-track into place and out would roar “Light of the World,” “Turn Back, O Man,” “Prepare Ye” and every other track from this brilliant 1971 musical.
I really don’t know when it started, why we listened to it so often or when we may have outgrown listening to it. I just know that when I hear a tune from Godspell, I am launched back into the late 70s and early 80s as a child, one of four siblings, living in a small four-plex and surrounding myself (for the little time I was actually inside the house) with music ranging from the Godspell soundtrack to The Police to Styx.
I let Godspell go from my memory for quite a while until I saw a production in the 1990s, the memories and music flooding back to those days, not long ago, tapping my feet to every song and audibly singing “LET’S HAVE SOME WINE!” I am sure those around me appreciated that.
Bearing witness to the finale, for the first time live, was quite an emotional experience. As someone that had only imagined the majesty of the musical though the sounds of an 8-track, seeing the lively and lovely performance live was uplifting, living up to and, indeed, exceeding all I had imagined.
Of course, I had no idea how we closed this play. Coming off of “Beautiful City” things get pretty raw with the crucifying of Jesus, sorrowful wails of “Oh God, I’m dying,” and “Long live God.” It’s draining, in only a way art through theater can be.
I was honored to be a small part of the Godspell cast during the Summit Theatre Group’s summer musical at Lee’s Summit Christian Church last week.
I doubt I could live up to the role of Lazarus, or even act my way out of a box, for that matter, but it was grand to be back on the stage. And even grander to see the passion for the music from this talented cast.
This is my second STG production, having starred alongside Trisha Drape in last fall’s production of Love Letters. Apparently, former journalists make great stage actors.
My first time on stage, under the direction of Kim Hayes, was at William Chrisman High School in 1991 or so in The Mystery of the Black Abbott. I didn’t even have to utter a word, and, boom, “on-stage” points. A few years later, I would appear as an English Bobby in Angel Street.
Yep, another part with no lines.
I do have a soft spot for theater, the time, effort and talents that put in by our high school students, college performers and those around the community, to maintain and mingle in the many benefits we find when we promote and encourage the arts.
Bravo to Ben Martin, his board, the directors (including Miss Phyllis Balagna, who led the charge on Godspell) and all those that have revived community theater in Lee’s Summit and for the supporters that help keep it funded.