Sunday, April 19, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

WOH’s ‘Godspell’ is the perfect mix of revelry and reverence

The cast of Woodland Opera House's "Godspell" are in the front row Hannah Wallace, left, Emily O'Flaherty, Erik Catalan, Eric Alley, and in the back row, Quentin Carbajal, left, Alex Cesena, Eimi Taormina, Matt Taloff. Courtesy photo

By
From page A11 | January 15, 2013 |

Check it out

What: “Godspell”

Where: Woodland Opera House, 340 Second St.

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Feb. 3

Tickets: $25 general, $23 seniors and children under 17, $12 students, adults in balcony $15, children in balcony $7

Info: Visit www.woodlandoperahouse.org or call 530-666-9617

“Godspell,” the musical based on the parables contained in the Gospel of Matthew, opened at the Woodland Opera House this week, under the direction of Jason Hammond.

“Godspell,” with music by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak was first presented in 1970 as Tebelak’s masters project thesis at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. It subsequently had a 10 performance run at La Mama Experimental Theater club in New York, where it caught the eye of producers Edgar Lansbury (brother of Angela) and Joseph Behruh, who hired Steven Schwartz to write a new song score, incorporating a variety of musical styles including pop, folk rock, gospel and vaudeville.

The newly reworked show opened Off-Broadway in 1971 and has been playing around the country ever since, including a 2011 Off-Broadway revival which played from October to June 2012.

Perhaps more than most musicals, this show seems to have a lot of opportunities for different visions, depending on director. A broad, circus-like version received a lot of critical complaint for its irreverence. For director Hammond, keeping the reverence in all the silliness was crucial.

“In all my theater ventures, I keep God center stage; but this show is particularly close to my heart in that I was raised on these parables and hold the teachings to be relevant, powerful guides in my life today,” he said.

There are 12 actors listed in the cast. “Father” (Jerry Stadel) is not seen, but is only a disembodied voice at the start of the show. “Boy” (James Hayakawa) is briefly seen at the start of the show. And Eric Alley, a part of the ensemble, was not able to participate, due to a broken foot, but his part was beautifully sung from the orchestra by musical director James C. Glicia-Hernandez. So seamless was the substitution, that it almost seemed as if it had been planned that way.

After a cacophonous opening number by the ensemble representing various philosophers and their philosophies, Matt Taloff as John (and also, later, Judas) starts the actual story, meeting Jesus (Erik Catalan) and baptizing him. Taloff is a powerful presence throughout, and Catalan exudes the peaceful, yet powerful, persona of Jesus. It is easy to see how people want to follow him.

As the parables unfold, each of the cast gets his or her moment to shine, starting with the story of the master forgiving a servant’s debt. Emily O’Flaherty sings “Day by Day,” the only song which really achieved much prominence from this show. It has an almost “Hair” quality about it.

The parable of Lazarus and the Rich man is sung (“Learn Your Lessons Well”) by Emily Delk, who later does a beautiful reprise with Glicia-Hernandez.

Ayesha Thomas rocks the house with the gospel tune “O Bless the Lord, My Soul,” followed by Quentin Carbajal’s “All Good Gifts” to represent the parable of the sower and the seed.

Eimi Taormina reminds the audience of the necessity of turning to God in “Turn Back, Oh Man,” while Hannah Wallace sings a beautiful “By My Side” as the adulteress, whom Jesus rescues.

One of the many lighter moments comes with “We Beseech Thee,” separating the sheep from the goats, sung in vaudeville style by Alex Cesena.

Jesus suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane (“In the Willows”) and subsequent betrayal by Judas and crucifixion was poignantly portrayed by Catalan.

If one wanted to quibble, there are funny bits that might seem sacrilegious (such as the blessing of Goldfish and YooHoo drink at the Last Supper), but this production never loses its reverence for the word of God, and I think Jesus himself might have smiled watching it.

As I left the theater, I couldn’t help but think that if more churches incorporated some of “Godspell” into their services, church attendance might rise.

Comments

comments

.

News

Aggie Pride on parade at UC Davis Picnic Day

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
City wants a study of sewer rates

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

Hard-of-hearing student needs community’s help

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
KDVS fund drive includes on-air pledging, plus parties and food

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Art helped sell California’s agriculture

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Sign up now for Celebrate Davis!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

Students, families can get after-hours Internet access

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Lawyers seek resolution to Davis molest case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Garamendi hosts conference for women

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
‘Invaluable public servant’ retires after 20 years

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Your brain’s aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Injury-proof yourself for effective exercise

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Understanding risks can help women prevent leading health threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Get some advice at Connections Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Eyewitness speaks about Israel’s election

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Free gardening advice offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Grad Night tickets on sale online

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Schenker speaks about ‘Magical Mexico’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Yolo County DA honors crime victims at annual tribute

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Holman offers Publishing 101 seminar

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Radio-controlled airplanes will race April 25-26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Vote with your dollars at Davis Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
Woodland bike rides set every Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Join the 10,000-vegetable challenge!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9Comments are off for this post

 
NAMI group offers family support

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Birding tour will benefit Putah Creek Council

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Watershed Wonders activities return to Putah Creek

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Yolo County Neighborhood Court seeks new volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
UCD looks at building a better brain as we age

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

‘Vault’ highlights ‘Kathak’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Two drought-preparedness water bills pass out of Senate committees

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Picnic Day favorites: dogs, bikes science

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Strike up the band, and the bubbles!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Forum

Ready for the parting glass

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
 
John Cole cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B6

Yolo Crisis Nursery still needs help

By Our View | From Page: B6

 
Drink up, kids, but make your choice a healthy one

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

Leash your dogs; it’s the law

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B6

 
Speak out

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B7

Let’s not turn our backs on the Earth

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

 
This Earth Day, make a pledge to cool your home

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Fast Aggie start negated by 14-0 USC lacrosse run

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stagnant second-half offense sinks Devil girls

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Over the hump? DHS baseball team wins late

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lambdin, Marshall lead Aggies at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Republic FC gets another win at Bonney

By Evan Ream | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies sweep a water polo double dip

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Busy Clancy, Hall spark Devil tracksters at Mt. SAC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Former DHS star Drexel returns to create havoc for Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Pro baseball roundup: Oakland blanks Kansas City

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
Sports briefs: Blue Devils split a pair of tennis matches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B14 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

New phase opens at Brookfield Cottages

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

 
Tucos closes; new Japanese, pizza, subs debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A12 | Gallery

WISH grant funds available to eligible homebuyers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

 
Marrone Bio Innovations strengthens its sales team

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

.

Obituaries

Alice Catherine Micheltorena

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Jody Zewe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Herman Timm

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8