REVIEW: 'Godspell' maintains its spirit, energy at Olney Theatre Center
WASHINGTON POST • FEBRUARY 11, 2015 • BY JANE HORWITZ
Olney Theatre Center’s laid-back “Godspell” courts its audience with an open-heartedness and intimacy that earns big affection in return. The show’s rock/pop retelling of The Gospel According to St. Matthew, with songs by Stephen Schwartz of “Wicked” and “Pippin” fame, remains genially critic-proof decades after its 1970s debut.
Under Jason King Jones’s direction, “Godspell” evokes not just its hippie roots, but a touch of the Burning Man festival that keeps on keepin’ on in the California desert to this day.
The scrappy scenery by Paige A. Hathaway and the motley costumes by Ivania Stack see to that. A scaffold looms at one side of the stage with a large cloth draped across it scrawled with the existential query, ”LOST?” Telephone poles in the background quietly symbolize the eventual crucifixion. Scattered objects — old stereo speakers, a radio, a water pump — contribute to the sense of an arid place where people and things get dumped.
DC THEATRE SCENE • FEBRUARY 10, 2015 • BY ALAN KATZ
Olney Theater’s plan for their new rendition of Godspell, which opened this past weekend, was simple but effective: gather some of DC’s best powerhouse vocal performers and pour them all into the ensemble of a musical known for being packed start to finish with songs. For the most part, Godspell delivers on its promise of crowd-pleasing, roof-raising songs. But the raw material of Godspell as a musical puts a ceiling on what these hard-working actors can accomplish, though they (and the creative team) put some contemporary spins on the text to fill it out.
REVIEW: Theatre Review: 'Godspell' at Olney Theatre Center
MD THEATRE GUIDE • FEBRUARY 9, 2015 • BY STEVE CHARING
Olney Theatre Center launched its 77th season with a joyful and uplifting production of the musical Godspell. With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz who went on to writePippin and Wicked, and a book by John-Michael Tebelak, the production opened off Broadway in 1971 and has become a staple of high school and community theatre as well as numerous professional mountings and tours since.
Based on the Gospel of Matthew, the show is a mixture of Scripture parables as told by Jesus loosely tied together with songs and dance. Godspell at Olney is an updated version based on the 2011 Broadway revival. The original 1971 production had a hippie clown folk motif in keeping with that era. The Olney production has more of a hipster, rock and amped vibe more in keeping with the generation brought up on the musical Rent.
Olney Theatre Center is a proud partner of Barrie School.
Olney Theatre Center is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. All programs are made possible by support from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County; the Maryland State Department of Education; and the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.