‘Godspell’ Coincides With Broadway Revival

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Kristine Tuzon, El Vaquero Staff Writer
March 13, 2012
Filed under Arts and Entertainment

As Broadway welcomes back and celebrates the 40th anniversary of one of its most successful productions, “Godspell,” Glendale locals won’t have to fly to New York to see the show, because it will be closer than they think.

Glendale’s theater arts department will stage “Godspell” for two weekends, from April 19 to 29 at the GCC auditorium main stage.

“It’s based on the Gospel of Matthew from the Bible. It’s all the teachings and parables from Jesus’ life,” theater arts director Melissa Randel said.

“It’s about this group of people whom are all in search of more meaning in their life, and they come to this central place and meet Jesus and dramatize and playfully act out all the parables. It’s really a celebration of life, his teachings and community, and that’s what attracted me to it,” she said.

Music major, Joenhel Cayanan, 24, will be playing the lead role of Jesus.

“Jesus is not what they are going to be expecting,” Cayanan said. “He is youthful and fun. Jesus is more like the big brother guiding them through.”

CJ Standley, 19, will play the role of John the Baptist, who will develop into Judas.

“He is very methodical, smarter than everyone else, and tries to be a leader,” Standley said. “He is Jesus’ best friend who ends up betraying him.”

The play is a musical, using theatrical traditions such as clowning, pantomime, charades, acrobatics and vaudeville, a resemblance to a variety show.

“Couple of numbers and character changes will be a bit different, but for the most part, it’s strictly all musical,” theater arts major, Sarah Stone, 19, said.

Also, Randel will be incorporating choreography or ideas from students and add them to the show.

“She welcomes our input to creating the show. It’s everyone’s show,” Blue Josiah Perez, 31, said.

“It’s a good diverse cast. Everyone has something to bring to the table,” Cayanan said.

The play will consist of paired-up and group choreography, transitional character changes, and movable abstract stage props.

The show is based on the book by John-Michael Telebek, who wanted to achieve “the use of both sophisticated verbal humor and broad physical comedy to appeal to all the age groups, and the reliance on acting out the stories visually and through the use of different voices and sounds.”

Musical director Clare Delto has been rehearsing with the cast by preparing song numbers. She said the play will have a live professional band on stage consisting of a bass, piano, guitar and drums.

Although “Godspell” is based on the Gospel of Matthew from the Bible, the show will not be preaching in any way. Randel believes the message is broader than that.

“The approach is not focusing on this religion versus that religion as much as it is really focusing on how to take this group of people who are total strangers from all walks of life and teach them these basic lessons about how to live life, take them from being individuals, turn them into a community, and send them out into the world,” she said.

“We [the characters] are transformed into our spiritual being. We become something brighter, more beautiful, more extravagant, and more open then what we know,” theater arts major Joshua Archer, 19, said.

The cast and directors have high hopes and expect positive reactions from the audience.

“I don’t think people are going to accurately predict what we are doing,” Stone said.

“People shouldn’t expect it like going to a church service. We are doing it in such a way that they are not going to realize it’s about that,” Standley said.

Archer believes they have put a new light on what “Godspell” is, and what it can be.

“Godspell” will run on April 19 to 21 and April 26 to 28 at 8 p.m. and April 22 and 29 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $18 for general admission, $13 for students and seniors, $10 for groups of 10 or more and children 12 and under. There is a $2 convenience fee per ticket.

For reservations, or ticket information, call (818) 240-1000 ext. 5612.

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