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GODSPELL Revival Reviews 
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Broadway Legend / MdN Veteran
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Post GODSPELL Revival Reviews
All right, I'll kick off by posting a link to one review: Peter Filichia's. These were the points that I found interesting.

Peter Filichia wrote:
Granted, the theatergoers were jarred (as millions have been before them) by the “Tower of Babel” opening. It is arguably the most confusing one found in any musical - even in the most notorious flops. If the original cast album had begun with “Tower of Babel,” many would have abandoned the recording before this cut had finished.... Once “Tower of Babel” is over, Wallace Smith begins rescuing the show with “Prepare Ye.”

I'm quite pleased to hear someone say this about the number. The number doesn't really confuse me, but I think it is jarring. What do others around here think?

Peter Filichia wrote:
Each time two of them hug each other, the rest of the cast goes “Awwwwwwww,” expressing an “Isn’t that sweet” emotion. Is the message that the early Christians were easily led and simple-minded?

Given that some Christians today act as though they are easily led and simple-minded, I'm not surprised this idea exists in Godspell at some level, although I've never perceived the show in that way myself.

At any rate, it's a very positive review overall. Like Filichia, I also think it will be a bigger audience hit than a critical one. Godspell often is.


Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:46 am
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Post Re: GODSPELL Revival Reviews
I'll help you whip through this quicker:

AM New York (1.5 stars):
Sitting through the new Broadway revival of "Godspell" is like watching an old high school friend getting beat up until he or she is barely recognizable. What was supposed to be fun and folksy has turned labored and excruciatingly painful.

Backstage (negative, positive for the cast):
Have you ever been to a party where the host grabs you the minute you walk in the door, shoves a drink in your hand, tells you five or six bad jokes, forces you to play games, and asks repeatedly if you're having a good time yet? If so, then you have a rough idea of the new Broadway revival of "Godspell," the 1971 rock musical hit.

The Faster Times (mixed to negative)

Variety (negative):
Yes, there is an audience for this "Godspell," and perhaps they can be reached. But the strengths of the original have been so weighted down by mirthless improvements that it makes for a very long two hours.

Time Out NY (Adam Feldman) (negative):
Reorchestrated and sound-designed for young, modern ears, this Godspell sounds like a born-again Glee, and several performers have moments to shine (including Uzo Aduba, Telly Leung and the wonderful Lindsay Mendez). Capering through Christopher Gattelli's joyous choreography, on David Korins's continually surprising set, the actors are nothing if not energetic. But for all the copious tributes paid to him, Jesus is a thankless role, and Hunter Parrish is this production's sacrifice to it; with a voice and presence as light as his ultra-blond locks, Parrish preaches softly and wears a creepily forced smile. This is Jesus as Stepford twink, and it's regrettably in keeping with a show that, in its combination of bathos and kitsch, is a model of bad faith.

Talkin' Broadway (Matthew Murray) (positive):
For most of its two-hour-and-fifteen-minute running time, nothing can stop this Godspell from exploding straight into your heart and — dare I say it? — soul. If indeed spirituality is old-fashioned and outdated, someone forgot to tell everyone involved with this production. And thank goodness: The honesty, charm, and appeal everyone displays shows that, sometimes at least, theatregoers' prayers are indeed answered.

Hollywood Reporter (negative):
They certainly appear to have learned nothing from Broadway's recent Hair revival, which succeeded by respecting the integrity of a show that will always be a period piece. "Rejoice in simplicity," says Parrish's Jesus at one point. But that message got tossed aside in the music meetings, along with the original score's funky Hammond organs.

Newsday (negative)

Theatermania (mixed to positive)

Philadelphia Inquirer (very positive)

New York Times (mixed to negative):
Go easy on the caffeine if you're heading to the Broadway revival of "Godspell" that opened on Monday night at the Circle in the Square. The cast of this relentlessly perky production of the 1971 musical, which transformed parables from the Gospels into a series of singable teaching moments, virtually never stops bopping, bouncing, bounding, even trampolining across the stage and up the aisles of the theater. It's like being trapped in a summer camp rec room with a bunch of kids who have been a little too reckless with the Red Bull...

Bloomberg (full on pan):
"Updating the show with mobile phones and references to Donald Trump makes it no less creepy. Jesus (Hunter Parrish) can't sing. The band sounds muddy. David Korins's set and Miranda Hoffman's costumes replace primary colors with dull tones. There's one standout among the dreary supporting players: a star-quality mimicker named Telly Leung.

Daniel Goldstein, the director, and Christopher Gattelli, the choreographer, have drained the show of spontaneity. The result looks like Disney Audio-Animatronics.

AP (mixed to positive):
That might seem strange coming from a musical that is based on the New Testament's Gospel of Matthew, but this Christ, played by Hunter Parrish ("Spring Awakening"), is, in a word, milquetoast.

He's earnest and pretty and wide-eyed, but lacks an ounce of charisma, a dangerous failing for anyone attempting to play the Savior. Fittingly, he passes on wearing the traditional Superman T-shirt in favor of a baseball jersey. (The number on the back? No. 1, of course.)

Thankfully, the rest of the 10-person cast — scary-talented and many in their Broadway debuts — distract any shortage of magnetism, making this hippy-dippy show funny, infectious and reverent. Blessed indeed are the followers.

The Village Voice (Michael Musto) (mixed to positive):
But the show's switches from goofy to glum are as awkward as ever, and while the Jesus (the surfer-dude-looking Hunter Parrish from Weeds) has a silkily beautiful voice, he can't make the dramatic parts as profound as they want to be.

New York Post (two and a half stars)

New York Magazine (very positive)

Entertainment Weekly ("C-")

USA Today (very positive)

Wall Street Journal (liked it)

OnStage with Roma Torre (rave)

Originally joined April 18, 2002
1,452 posts on original forum ("Broadway Legend" rank)

Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:12 am
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