It Will Cast a Spell Over You

ommunity, humanity and love are three ideologies that have permeated the lives of Americans post 9-11 in a way not seen since the days of the flower child. Tonight, Hoof n' Horn's production of Godspell opens and tackles each of these themes.

Written in the early 1970s, the musical is based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew and recounts numerous Biblical anecdotes--culminating in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The first production of Godspell was commonly referred to as "Jesus Christ Superstar on LSD" and characterized as a hippy musical. In this production, Director Adam Sampieri wanted to move the musical into the 21st century while maintaining the integrity of the original, and he seems to have found a way. There are moments where today's pop culture has seeped flawlessly into the show. During one of the numbers, the signature boy-band turn worked its way into the choreography while Mike Myers' Dr. Evil "zip it" line also makes an appearance.

Unlike some other campus productions, this two-week run of Godspell is in no way a carbon copy of its Broadway predecessor. Sampieri brought the musical back to life through an amazing collaboration among director, producer, actors, musicians and technicians. In an interview before the show's debut, Sampieri stressed the idea that the entire production is the result of a very ambitious team of which he is only a small part.

The name "Godspell" comes from writer John-Michael Tebelak, who wanted to write a musical "to cast God's spell over the audience." Although this leaves room for an interpretation which could be preachy or offer in-your-face Christianity, Sampieri said Hoof n' Horn's version attempts "to strike a balance between watered-down and straight Christianity." This Godspell is a show for everyone.

At very least, the show promises a night of fun, but Sampieri hopes "it's become a good piece of theater rather than just a musical." If the final dress rehearsal is any indication of success, then Sampieri gets his wish. The actors are incredibly well cast and each conveys a strong, distinct voice and characterization. The music and set are exceptional and the lighting completes the package, marking an exemplary production borne of true student collaboration.

--Cary Hughes

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