Thursday night we went to our first show of the 2007 Hope Summer Repertory Theatre season. We've been going to HSRT shows for over ten years now and it is always a delight. This year they are doing one of the musicals in the Knickerbocker Theatre, a downtown Holland MI movie house which Hope College bought some years ago.
Second row balcony seats in the Knickerbocker to see this classic 1970s telling of the story of Jesus. If there was ever a musical born to play at Hope College, this is it. While Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ, Superstar is probably more well-known, the latter show is definitely Broadway. Godspell is much more intimate and keeps to the Book. I'm pretty sure I've seen a televised version of the play, probably on PBS, years ago -- and we've both seen the movie. But it's been a while. Still, the songs quickly came back.
Part of me is amazed at how many of the songs have a simple lyric or two which is repeated over and over. Considering that some of the pop tunes of the 60s do the same thing, this isn't a huge surprise. Better still, the HSRT people have been doing a great job for years with getting the sound balance right -- everyone is miked but all the voices are strong. And the blendings of the women in some of the songs -- gorgeous. They have such good talent. The young man playing Jesus had the right mix of sincerity and earnestness. Especially have to commend the guy who plays both John the Baptist and Judas. Great presence, voice and a swell guitar player. Some of the cast came out early out of the Intermission and sat on stage and messed around with some popular songs -- they took requests. It was very much fun.
Hiding in the balcony doesn't mean there's no audience participation. Several times part of the cast came up to the wide aisle between the fourth and fifth rows in the balcony. And once two of the girls came down to the front of the balcony, and for the first time in my life, I got snared by a woman's feathery boa. Help!
I remember reading criticisms in the New York papers about Godspell, complaining it was lightweight. It is, in some sense, and it isn't. Really depends on your attitude, I think. All the HSRT shows are wonderful, but if you're in West Michigan, you really gotta come and see what they're doing in the Knickerbocker this summer.
Nothing says Summertime more than a fresh tomato sandwich: cheese, tomato, peanut butter -- and ketchup and/or mayonnaise as desired. The first of many. Spread a little Coleman's mustard on the bread before the peanut butter.
Down to the last three book reports -- the ones which require spreading out because they had Draft paper evaluations, so I have to put them side-by-side. Grades should be done by Sunday, two days early.