A review of Taproot Theatre’s 2015 production of “Godspell,” a musical retelling of the teachings of Jesus.
It’s God with glee! Taproot has produced a high-energy, modern Seattle take on “Godspell,” a perennial favorite dating back to Broadway in 1971 (music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, concept by John-Michael Tebelak).
Based on the gospels of Matthew and John, it’s a retelling of the teachings of Jesus, with the lessons embedded in a terrific musical score that incorporates pop, folk, rock and gospel. Through this jubilant music we learn of the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, Lazarus and the adulterous woman whom Jesus protects by suggesting that “he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Taproot’s high energy and multitalented cast members all dance, sing and play musical instruments. Under the direction of Edd Key, their joyful sound bounces off the walls of the theater in a celebration of life.
Through Aug. 15, Taproot Theatre, 204 N. 85th St., Seattle; $20-$40 (206 781-9707 or taproottheatre.org).
Director Karen Lund has set her production in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and infused the script with local and timely references. The actors take selfies and call upon Siri for assistance. They also make references to contemporary game shows and Sesame Street. There’s even a view of Seattle’s Great Wheel through the Market window.
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This is the third time Taproot has produced this show, and each iteration offers new insights into the parables about living in kindness with fellow humans and behaving in a way that enriches one’s own life, even as it creates a kinder more humane society. But there’s never any sermonizing here. Instead the lessons are filled with gleeful sound. The rollicking music overwhelms all else.