Godspell – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

The cast of Godspell. Photo by Brian Clowdus

The cast of Godspell. Photo by Brian Clowdus

Godspell is one of those musicals like South Pacific, just about everyone has heard of it, seen it or been in a high school production of it. Based on the Gospel of Matthew, the show, which just recently had a Broadway Revival in 2011-2012 at the Circle in the Square Theatre, still continues to be a popular show among all ages.

Stage Door Players is staging the musical based on the 2012 revival script. Featuring some of the Atlanta’s top young musical theatre standouts, the show won’t disappoint, and the amusement park concept works well for this production. For the most part, Stage Door Players’ audiences will see a traditional staging of the show.

Under the directions of Brian Clowdus, there are a few captivating performances. Laura Floyd owns the stage with a presence that is hard to ignore, even when she isn’t the focal point of the scene. “Turn Back O Man.” She belts the song and captivates the audience. Likewise, Caitlin Smith’s “Day by Day” is a crowd-pleaser.

Both Randi Garza and Tierra Porter give a rousing reprise of “Learn Your Lessons Well” at the beginning of the second act. The power house vocals of the two young ladies overshadows the original performance and leaves you longing for more from them. It stands as one of the best numbers in the show.

While Jeremiah Parker Hobbs has an infectious smile, great voice and down-to-earth persona, too much of the time he plays the role too reverent, like watching an actor in a passion play perform the role of Jesus. Regardless, he is fun to watch and easily carries the show.

While the production may use the available version of the 2011-2012 revival, it lacks the almost constant pop culture quips and references that made the show so fresh. This aspect is no fault of the theater or the local production, but seems to rest more so with the available script.

One of the highlights of the show isn’t the onstage talent, but the lighting design and the set. Michael Magursky has created a fabulous lighting design to highlight the amusement park that becomes its own character throughout the show. The amusement park, designed by Chuck Welcome, creates a nice dynamic and compliments the action on stage.

Witty, enjoyable and fun to watch, Stage Door Players’ Godspell runs through June 8, 2014 at the Dunwoody theater. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. The show’s runtime is a little over two hours with an intermission.

– Kenny Norton