When we were in New York last month, we saw the show too. And we've got to say - WE AGREE! This was nothing to write home about!
The reviews are in for the revival of Godspell on Broadway and not too many people have that many nice things to say about the show. 40th Anniversary production of Stephen Schwartz's rock musical was compared to a "being trapped in a summer camp rec room with a bunch of kids who have been a little too reckless with the Red Bull," by the New York Times for all the "bouncing" and "bounding" it did.
The Hollywood Reporter warn potential viewers to "prepare for disappointment," as they felt the show echoed a "high school production staged by the wacky new drama teacher," with no real depth and strength to the acting or the production.
Most reviewers conceded that the young cast was talented (somewhat), but that the production itself … well, we think Steven Suskin of Variety said it best:
Strongest aspect of the affair is the casting: This "Godspell" is especially well sung. Standing out are Lindsay Mendez (on "Bless the Lord" and elsewhere) and Telly Leung (on "All Good Gifts"). The one big letdown comes from Hunter Parrish, the Jesus of the occasion. Parrish has an innocent smile, big blonde hair, and plenty of teeth; he doesn't look like a Ken doll, exactly, but he sings like one. Wallace Smith, as John/Judas, is marginally stronger but not up to the level of the ensemble. One of the surprising bright spots is the entr'acte reprise of "Learn Your Lessons Well," sung by Leung (at piano) with Mendez and Smith. Yes, there is an audience for this "Godspell," and perhaps they can be reached. But the strengths of the original have been so weighted down by mirthless improvements that it makes for a very long two hours.
Truth. All truth.
It was never one of our favorite shows to begin with, but you have to appreciate the work of Sondheim on all levels. Still, if you are a parent with kids or young teens and want a night out at the theater, this is probably a good show for you see. Just don't bring them onstage at intermission for the "juice"!
P.S. - Also, Hunter Parrish is NOT bad to look at for a couple of hours. If his shirt was off more, this show would've gotten a A+++ from us!!!
[Image via WENN.]