Today I stumbled upon my recently purchased Godspell vinyl record. I got it for just CAD3.00 (approximately P111.00) at the vintage section of a record store two months ago on my trip to Canada. When my balikbayan box came the other week, I had been shuffling about with coming back from a trip, house repairs, and a mountainful of decluttering that I didn’t get to check the titles of my vinyl record loot. But Manang put Godspell on the front of the pile so I took notice today!
I picked it up at the store because I was familiar with the songs Day by Day and All Good Gifts, the latter graciously sung by Tita Jay Glorioso, MusicArtes‘ executive director, in an informal CD I put together in 2004.
With the different musicals I’ve watched throughout the years, I’ve never really encountered nor looked into Godspell until last Friday when I received a TicketWorld email announcing the last three shows of the Musicartes Manila production. The email said the cast is supposed to be good; Menchu Lauchengco is in it so I thought I probably couldn’t go wrong.
So last Sunday I watched with Blessie and Aki at the RCBC Plaza. Was I surprised when practically the gospel of Matthew comprised a considerable part of the screenplay! But the genius was in interspersing entertaining twists and surprises, music, choreography, the palpable positive rapport among the cast members to deliver meaty messages… the very Word of God. Beatitudes, parables, narrations. Awesome!
Godspell is composed by John-Michael Tebelak (for the spoken parts) and Stephen Schwartz (for the music), the multi-awarded music composer for Pippin, Wicked, some songs in Pocahontas (Colors of the Wind), The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince of Egypt (When You Believe), and Enchanted. You can imagine the quality of the music!
All songs were sung well but my personal favorite melodies were:
My favorite scene was the one at the Garden of Gethsemane with lead actor (twice Gawad Buhay Best Actor awardee), Jef Flores. His facial expression and body language captured being “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” so beautifully. I kept wondering where in the world did they find the perfect actor to play Jesus.
I just had one wish: that the updated Godspell version would have changed all the thee’s and thou’s to “you’s.” [There was one instance of biblical inconsistency in the screenplay I thought I heard— when Jesus said that all his disciples would betray him]. I’d have to watch again to verify. But I would love to watch just to appreciate and enjoy more of the fine details anyhow as Godspell now belongs to my list of favorite plays.
Too many times to count, I involuntarily blurted out gut laughter. I hope the persons seated around me were too busy laughing themselves to notice. Children and old people in the theater were visibly entertained. The entire cast oozed with fabulous talent.
Musicartes, Inc. will stage this show again if someone would be willing to buy one— perhaps for fund-raising, for corporations to give tickets to top tier of clients, as a limited-time business endeavor. I can imagine this would be great on a church stage! When that happens, I hope you will be able to catch it! This musical is a must-see! 🙂
Kudos to the director, Dr. Anton Juan; Ms. Jay Valencia Glorioso and Musicartes, Inc., the wonderful cast, and all the people behind this whole production!