September 27, 2020

Godspell brings the good news to Cayman

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From left to right: Neil Hamaty (who plays Herb) Valerie Hoppe (Gilmer) Lisa Bowyer (Peggy) Shane Allenger (Jesus) Jacoline Frank (Robin) Kate Allenger (Joanne) Joe Roberts (Jeffrey) and Teri Quappe (John, Judas, and Sonia).

The Cayman Drama Society is performing a new version of the long-running Broadway musical, Godspell, at the Prospect Playhouse.

The musical consists of a series of Jesus’ parables, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew plus three parables found in the Gospel of Luke. They are interspersed with a variety of songs, backed with modern music, but based mainly on lyrics to traditional hymns.

Godspell’s power is in the opportunity it gives the audience to hear Jesus’ timeless words, which stay very close to the gospel record, in a fresh, up-to-date setting.

The new production builds on the spirit of the original, which first appeared in 1971 off Broadway and was set on the streets of New York, by changing the setting yet again. In the new version Jesus (expertly played by Shane Allenger) is portrayed as a bartender, and all his followers are trendy night-clubbers. Explaining the changes, Director Teri Quappe said:

“I sat one night in January ’11 trying to figure out how to make my production of Godspell stand out from all of the other productions that have been done.  The original concept of the show was set in a New York City street…I decided on a nightclub for my setting, and my cast to be clubbers- we have many different decades of clubbers represented.

Kate Allenger who plays Joanne

“The hard part was, I needed to figure out how to portray Jesus and thought that a bartender would be the perfect fit. He becomes the leader. In normal life, in some cases, the bartender can also be our ‘counsellor’ who helps people sort through problems.”

The singing and acting are excellent throughout, and the music benefits from the band, “The Holey Spirits” who are actually the members of the popular local band, “Sea ‘n’ B.”

Godspell’s producer, Leo Bloom said:  “This musical takes the same words and lessons we have heard spoken from pulpits since childhood and brings them to a common-man level where they are made fresh and memorable as we watch the parables come alive.

“Examples are the unmerciful servant throttling his fellow servant, the older son in the prodigal son whining his displeasure to the father about what he jealously perceives as anunfairness; and the priest and the Levite stepping over the injured man in the good samaritan. All of these are brought to life not by a preaching Jesus, but by a Jesus walking amongst his people, touching them, cajoling them, singing with them.

Cayman Drama Society’s production of Godspell

“There are some who may feel the words of our dear lord belong in a church and shouldn’t be the fodder of a musical show. For those people who can receive the word directly to their heart, that is a blessing. But others will find our Godspell production a refreshing message. Perhaps something the un-churched haven’t heard in a number of years.  Especially for those lost sheep, we of the Godspell production are delighted to bring the word in a memorable way.”

Godspell opens at the Prospect Playhouse on Thursday 22 September and runs until 9 October. Tickets are available by calling 9495054.

 

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