Highly Recommended *****


I guess this is the season of the “oldies” as another older play takes another local stage. “Godspell”, the intimate “rock musical” of the 1970′s retelling the story of the “Parables’ from the Old Testament is not for Atheists and Agnostics and many who are very religious may find it difficult to see the stories and parables brought to life in music and dance, but, I must say that Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, as usual, puts on its stage one “Hell of a production”, filled with energy and talent. Directed and Choreographed by Matt Raftery, who we have seen grow up on this stage ( as a dancer/ensemble member, then an actor , then a choreographer and now THE “man) this new interpretation of the classic musical with book by John -Michael Tebelak and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, this is not the original “Godspell” which thrilled audiences for years, but rather a new, fresh look with some small changes in the lyrics and updated , current events sprinkled in the text to keep us on our toes’

Some of the classic songs, such as “Day by Day” ( my favorite),”Light Of The World”, “By My Side” are just a sample of the high spirited “Rock” music that inspired audiences during the heyday of the original. This is not a one of a kind, as there are other musicals that deal with the Christ, his Jewish Heritage and the betrayal that took place before the crucification. Yes, the original book ( the Old Testament) with notes from the sequel, The New testament are the theme behind the story, but this is not meant to be a religious experience rather an entertainment experience allowing the music to take us to places that many of us may have not ever been before.

The cast of ten members is high spirited and highly talented, bringing comedy, drama, music and dance to the two hours of entertainment that is “Godspell”. Cast as Jesus is young Brian Bohr, who has a history of playing biblical characters. Last year, he played Joseph in Marriott’s “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: in their Theater for young audiences program. Although we have seen him in other things, he handles the biblical roles very well with a great vocal range. In the role of John and Judas is Devin DeSantis, another multi-talented young man who has shown his ability in many difficult roles and then the ensemble. What can I say about them? How about WOW!!!

Yes! That is the perfect word- Wow! Lillie Cummings, Elizabeth Lanza, Nate Lewellyn,Christine Mild, Eliza Palasz, Samantha Pauly, Zachary Piser and Tom Vendafreddo- WOW!, each and every one of you. Voices that ring loud and clear, acting that worked from start to finish and solid work on the dance routines. I truly think that Raftery went overboard on some very special routines using hula hoops, arts and crafts and captured the audience. The Thomas Ryan Set is colorful and practical. This is after all, Theater in the round, so we cannot expect a true set, but Ryan, knows how to utilize the Marriott stage and Raftery knows exactly how far he can take his cast as he hangs them and even crucifies one. Aw, shucks, I did not mean to give away the story line.
Jesse Klug’s lighting and Robert E.Gilmartin’s sound along with the costumes ( Erin Wuorenma) and props ( a great selection of wild items) by Sally Weiss complete the visuals and audio with one exception the Music Direction by Ryan T. Nelson with Patti Garwood conducting the orchestra of five musicians who make the sound of twenty- GREAT WORK!

“Godspell” will continue at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire through August 10th with performances as follows:
Wednesdays at 1 and 8 p.m.
Thursdays at 8 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 4:30 and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 1 and 5 p.m.
NO performances July 2-6
Tickets range from $40-$48 with discounts for students ( 17 and under) and Seniors ( 62 and older)
There are limited dinner and lunch packages for as little as $55 per person a sweet deal
To order your tickets stop by the box office, call 847-634-0200 or visitwww.MarriottTheatre.com where you can also book dinner packages.

The theater is located at ten Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire ( just south of Route 22/Half Day Rd) and East of Route 21 ( Milwaukee Avenue) with plenty of free parking. Lot sof other fine dining spots in the area including one of my favorites, Philly G’s just north of the theater at Route 45.
To see what others are saying, visitwww.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Godspell”