Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Theatre Tuscaloosa’s ‘Godspell’ makes Christ’s story interactive

Theatre Tuscaloosa left audience members moved by their opening night performance of “Godspell,” as directed by Abe Reybod, at the Bean-Brown Theatre on Friday, Nov. 30.

“I felt such a mixture of emotions from the performance,” said Kathleen Starke, a freshman at The University of Alabama, who attended the show opening night. “At one point I was uplifted by the wonderful musical numbers and the comedy of the play, and then I was crying my eyes out from the intimacy of the drama at the end of the show.”

“Godspell,” written by Stephen Schwartz and John Michael Tebelak, tells the story of Jesus’ life according to the book of Matthew in the Bible. The musical begins with the baptism of Jesus, and then transitions through parables that are told in the Bible, accompanied by musical numbers such as “Day by Day” and “God Save the People.”

“Godspell” begins with the actors in a classroom-like setting in matching uniforms, which then changes into a downtown setting with graffiti-covered walls. The cast then comes out in brightly colored costumes and begins to sing the number “Prepare Ye,” an upbeat tune that narrates the baptism of cast members by Gerard Jones, who plays John the Baptist.

Jesus, played by Will Erwin, then enters the show and begins telling his followers the parables from the Bible, which are enacted by different cast members. Following each parable is a musical number that also teaches a story from the gospel of Matthew. The actors used an element of audience participation to make the performance more interactive.

“The entire show was so interactive with the audience,” Devin Valenza, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering, said. “The whole time I was so focused on the show. I completely forgot that I was watching a musical, I felt like I was a part of the production.”

In the second act, “Godspell” takes on a more somber tone in contrast to the first act’s cheerful and eccentric mood. The actors set the scene of the last supper and shows Jesus’ good bye to his followers as well as Judas’ betrayal.

“I could barely watch the final number of Jesus’ crucifixion,” Starke said. “It felt like I was actually there watching it happen. The agony that the actors portrayed is what really made the scene come to life.”

The play ends with the actors carrying Jesus off stage, and then coming back on to sing the closing song of the production.

Dorothy Pieroni, who attended the opening night of the musical, was very pleased with the production.

“Great performance, great, singers, great costumes, I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Pieroni said. “The emotion that they project, just everything they did, we have a lot of talent in Tuscaloosa.”

“Godspell” runs through Dec. 9 at the Bean-Brown Theatre at Shelton State Community College. Tickets can be purchased online at

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