The house lights went to black and the voice of Jesus (played by Jesse Hutchinson) introduced himself to the audience. The stage lights rose, delivering a blast of color which contrasted with the shadows created by the lack of white light. The music to the prologue began to play and the cast belted the opening number to Godspell, Babble. The audience’s response – a wave of profound enthusiasm.
The performers rode this wave of enthusiasm, which allowed themselves to drop their reservations and bring life, energy, and honesty to their acting, their dancing, and their singing.
All of the performers played their roles, and the audience in their own way, but one such performer, Macie Pernas, exemplified how an actor is able to drop all reservations and throw herself, unreservedly in the role. From the back of the auditorium and out of the darkness, Pernas struck a pose and announced, “I have arrived” and moved with ease throughout the audience, bringing her unique personality to the role as she played and interacted with audience members through improvised asides during the musical interludes. Her physicality and vocal inflections engaged the audience and her fellow actors, allowing all to enjoy the way her playful presence filled the entire room.
In addition, Jesse Hutchinson, playing the role of Jesus, and Joshua Robinson, playing the role of Judas, were joined by the entire cast in the iconic musical number, All for the Best. Hutchinson and Robinson, through the guidance of vocal director, Marianne Pastelak, demonstrated more than just vocal mastery over this vocally difficult number. They played off of each other and they played to the audience as they, along with the cast, flawlessly executed the difficult choreography (taught by Katie Gordon) to this and all of the high energy musical numbers.
More than just highly energetic musical numbers, Godspell also contains songs which require a performance of a different kind of emotional quality. Tara Vinson, opening Where are you Going, and accompanied by Kiley Ernest and Alexandra Bonicker, brought vulnerability to this number, a desperate cry to follow and suffer with Jesus out of love. In addition, the cast, upon discovering that Jesus will soon leave them delivered a heartfelt cry to return to Zion in On the Willows.
And, the cast’s performance of the Finale, the most difficult number to honestly deliver to an audience, cut to the heart as Hutchinson’s (Jesus) violent physicality corresponded to the music and allowed him to internalize the emotional quality of this part of the play. Supporting him in this performance, the cast delivered a believable emotional reaction to the suffering and death of Jesus as portrayed in this show.
At the end of the performance, several parents came to managing director, Tim Baldwin, and said, “This was the best show you’ve done so far.” And, “This production of Godspell has taken Get2Act to another level.” Or, “I’ve seen many productions of Godspell, but this one tops them all.”
Such positive comments as these, are echoed in the comments people made on Facebook. Karen Nicholson, whose daughter Sarah, experienced Get2Act’s summer program for the first time this year, writes, “I cannot say enough great things about this show!!! Godspell was/is amazing!!! Highly impressed!!!”
Get2Act’s performance of Godspell was amazing because of kids in the cast and their level of talent. This made it possible for the directors of the show to harness the talent, enthusiasm, and energy each kid brought to the stage for such an astounding performance.
Though performers in the principal roles and big musical numbers come to mind initially in any great performance, one need not look too far to see great talent in the ensemble of actors who played an important role in taking this show, and Get2Act, to a new level.
Congratulations to those already mentioned in this article and to Alex Louderback, Josh Hutchinson, Ben Lazoff, Kendal Amsler, Lauren Golya, Abby Walsh, Anna Grubbs, Anna King, Anna O’Dell, Carrie Louderback, Clayton “Buddy” Cisar, Rachel Wienecke, Elizabeth Moorman, Janet Barry, Libby Gross, Madison Kuehn, Natalie Jacobs, Rachel Moorman, Reilly Cisar, Sarah Nicholson, Shannon King, Sydney Walsh, Caroline Smith, and Mallory Lyon.
Tim, Katie, Marianne, and Lilli enjoyed a wonderful two weeks working with you all in preparing you to bring your very best to this performance.