The optimism of youth radiates from each of the enthusiastic performers who make up the cast of GODSPELL, JR., the Stephen Schwartz musical that is taking the stage at Eclectic Company Theatre in North Hollywood. Directed by Bonnie Hellman, and featuring the talents of Children’s Theatre Group of Southern California’s young actors, it is a joyful celebration of love and faith told through a series of familiar parables like The Good Samaritan and The Prodigal Son.
The musical was originally conceived by Michael Tebelak and based on the Gospels according to St. Matthew and St. Luke. Fans of its full-length parent musical GODSPELL will find most of the songs present here in this lighter student version, including such favorites as “Day By Day,” “All For the Best,” and “All Good Gifts,” plus “Beautiful City” from the 1973 film.
Hellman, musical director Roy Leake, Jr. and choreographer Terry J. Barto (with additional choreography by Shauna Markey) have brought the material to life with contemporary references and humorous touches that enhance the teachings and allow this capable group of up-and-coming young actors plenty of opportunity to show their skills. The result is a fun, uplifting, and thoroughly enjoyable one act production that will appeal to the whole family.
Jake Foster (Jesus) leads the way with a sweet, warm manner that brings this rag tag group of street kids lovingly together as a community and Noah Kennedy Meyers shows off his expertise with comedy, in addition to more serious turns as John the Baptist and Judas. His “Light of the World” is a highlight, as is Zoe Rae Calamar’s rousing call to action, “We Beseech Thee.”
The energetic cast also includes the very talented Livia Grace Blum, Addison Bouquet, Catherine Crouch, Sara McMahon, and Daniela Rodrigo who are featured in numerous dance and vocal specialties making this a true ensemble show.
Now through November 18
Children’s Theatre Group of Southern California @
The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village, CA 91607
Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm, Sundays at 2pm
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Pictured above: L-R: Sara McMahon, Zoe Calamar, Daniela Rodrigo, and Jake Foster. Photo credit: Sherry Lynn.