Monday, June 20, 2016

MusicArtes Inc.'s GODSPELL: A Musical for the Whole Family

I've watched a lot of stage musicals over the years and have several I'd highly recommend parents to bring their kids to. Godspell has just been added to that list. This is a very entertaining, as well as inspiring, production to watch. Here's why:

see those kids on stage? they're members of the audience!
1. It's rated GP. If you haven't introduced your child yet to the wonders of theater, this coming weekend is a perfect time to do so. Godspell is a delightful show that induces foot-tapping, clapping, singing, and even dancing! There are interactive portions where the cast invites a few members of the audience to sing and dance along then brings them up on stage for several minutes of fame. Plus, you'll have a grand time laughing out loud (guaranteed!) especially during the parables of The Good Samaritan and The Prodigal Son

amazing choreography - check!
2. It has great songs and dance numbers that will have you LSS'ing for days. Great job to Musical Director Ejay Yatco and his live band, Sound Engineer Jethro Joaquin, Choreographer Dexter Martinez Santos, and his assistant Stephen Vinas for making the songs come vibrantly alive! Kudos as well to John Batalla for the amazing (as always) lights design that helped so much in perfectly capturing the moods of each scene.

this show will NOT make you fall asleep

3. It is not a boring religious-themed show. The masterful storytelling and modern twists incorporated in the production will make you see the gospel in a whole new light as you take notice of the parallelism between incidents that happened a long, long time ago and the things that continue to happen today. Pay attention to the video clips and images (done in collaboration with Alco Guerrero) that play in the background and absorb their powerful messages.

excellent cast - check!
4. It has a superb cast. I've seen majority of the members act in other stage productions and can personally vouch for their versatile talents.

Jef Flores (who I first saw in Camp Rock) nailed the character of Jesus with his authentic long hair and soothing voice that, I think, made kids in the audience almost believe he's the real deal :) What a revelation to see him play the violin, beat box, and rap very well, too!

a little girl gets to "meet" Jesus
In addition, it was great watching OJ Mariano (the award-winning Tom Collins from Rent and one of Forbidden Broadway's fab four) Topper Fabregas (the hilarious Robert from Boeing Boeing and the captivating John in Cock), and Red Concepcion (who played the funny Puck in Shakespeare in Hollywood) switch from serious to funny roles during the whole show in between rendering awesome songs.

OJ plays both John the Baptist and Judas (in separate scenes, of course!)
Likewise, it's always a treat to catch Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo (who made me cry buckets in Next to Normal), Caisa Borromeo (also from Forbidden Broadway and the witty Underarm Monologues), and Sheila Valderrama-Martinez (who did a heart-wrenching performance in Dani Girl) because these ladies' voices are phenomenal.

creative props and costumes - check!
I first saw Maronne Cruz and Abi Sulit in Little Shop of Horrors when they were still in college and I'm glad to see them both blooming in the professional theater arena. I love Maronne's number where she played the ukelele and Abi's number that resembled leading a praise and worship segment in church.

noticed the variety of lighting designs yet? beautiful, right?
I look forward to seeing more of Gab Pangilinan and Rhenwyn Gabalonzo (who were both part of the wonderful Kung Paano Ako Naging Leading Lady cast) and Poppert Bernadas (the best and funniest magtataho ever!) in other shows in the future.

All these 12 actors have great comedic timing and have commendable singing voices. Each had his/her turn to shine throughout the show, which made Godspell all the more a must-see production.

a solemn depiction of The Last Supper
5. It has a timely theme. We all need to hear messages of hope, especially during this quite worrying time in our country's history. Godspell provides a great reminder that God is watching over us and He will act on our prayers in His perfect time.

God is watching over us, really!
Two thumbs up to MusicArtes Inc. for staging Godspell and to Dr. Anton Juan for his superb concept and direction. He successfully made the profound connection between Godspell and the mission of social justice that, as he said, is actually the mission of Christianity

Let me share part of his Director's Note in the souvenir program: "I wanted to retell the parables in connection to the issues that the world is facing: wars, terrorism, corruption, greed, human trafficking, migration and how, amidst all this, rises the strength of man to confront these issues and the vision to reconstruct a better world, a new city of Man. I wanted to make this musical a prayer, a ritual of hope that, from the dirt, the mud, the rubble, arises a rose."

make sure to prepare some tissues because
your eyes are most likely to eventually tear up (like mine did!)
So do catch this wonderful show on its last weekend this coming June 24 (8PM), June 25 (3:30PM and 8PM), and June 26 (3:30PM). For ticket reservations, call 8958098 or 09175378313. You can also buy tickets through Ticketnet.

together, we can build a beautiful city
not a city of angels, but a city of men
If, in any case you don't get to see Godspell this time, please look up the soundtrack online and still find inspiration in them. As one of the song goes, "When your trust is all but shattered, When your faith is all but killed, You can give up bitter and battered, Or you can slowly start to build a beautiful city." That's a timeless message that I pray would get us through anything unpleasant that may happen in the coming days.

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