Thursday, August 7, 2008

This North Coast Weekend: Godspell and More

Three shows open this weekend (four if you count the Ooh La La revue at the Eagle House):

Sanctuary Stage officially opens the "Memories" show of their Shades of Grey series at the Eureka Theatre, Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm. I'll post my review later today.

Ferndale Rep opens Godspell Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm. A little more on that show below.

Humboldt Light Opera opens The Wizard of Oz Friday and Saturday at 7:30 in the Van Duzer, with a 2 pm matinee on Sunday. It's described as featuring music and lyrics from the feature film.

Jeff DeMark continues his Willow Creek series with Writing My Way Out of Adolescence at 8:30 pm Saturday at the Redbud Theatre. Lend Me A Tenor continues at North Coast Rep.

Now here's the short preview of Godspell from my Journal column, with one correction--my editor, evidently not a Charlotte Bronte fan, changed a line about the off-stage romance which in some ways was at the heart of this production, or at least of my story about it. See if you can spot what I mean...

Back in 1996, Marilyn McCormick began her tenure as Artistic Director of the Ferndale Repertory Theatre with a production of Godspell, a musical that had a family connection: her sister Gilmer, who followed her to study drama at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon University), was in the original cast when her fellow Tech student John-Michael Tebelek created it.

When Godspell moved to New York in 1971 with a new score, Stephen Reinhardt was hired as its musical director. That’s how he met Gilmer McCormick, and Reader, she married him. So when Marilyn suggested that Godspell should also be her last show as Artistic Director, her sister and brother-in-law came up from Los Angeles to put it on. It starts this weekend.

Gilmer McCormick directs, Stephen Reinhardt choreographs, but there’s also lots of local talent involved, including the cast of Patrick Croft, Bob Beideman, Denim Ohmit, Anthony Hughes, Tina Beideman, Shannan Dailey, Laureen Savage, Monica Schallert, Erin Jones-Martin and Dion Davis.

“It’s an excellent example of ensemble theatre, “Reinhardt told me. “This group reminds me of the original—all these wonderful kids, everyone contributing their talent to the whole. It’s very high energy, very funny, with totally infectious music—even all these years later.”

But this musical based on aspects of the life of Christ as told in the Gospel of Matthew is also “a transformative experience,” he said. “It’s reverent in its own way, and very honest about the gospels.”

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