Prepare Ye: Godspell, with "Idol" Finalist Robinson, Begins Syracuse Stage Run

News   Prepare Ye: Godspell, with "Idol" Finalist Robinson, Begins Syracuse Stage Run
The Syracuse Stage production of Stephen Schwartz's biblical pop musical Godspell, starring "American Idol" finalist Anwar Robinson, begins performances Nov. 25.
Anwar Robinson
Anwar Robinson Photo by Daniel Greene Photography

Syracuse Stage associate artistic director Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj directs the freshly envisioned production that features choreography by Anthony Salatino. Godspell will run through Dec. 28.

Maharaj has conceived the Syracuse production of Godspell as a globe-trotting journey that asks, "Where would we find Jesus today?"

Godspell, according to press notes, "will begin at the United Nations and then travel to Cuba, Haiti, South Africa, Sudan, China, India, Iraq and New Orleans." The production also features original music by Charles Creath that informs the setting for each new country.

Robinson, who also toured as Collins in the 2007 NETworks non-equity tour of Rent, plays Jesus opposite Brandi Chavonne Massey (Actors Fund Hair) in the role of Sonia, Timothy Ware (Goodman Theatre's Purlie) as Judas and Jasmin Walker (Zanna, Don't!) as Joanne.

Godspell's cast is completed by theatre students from Syracuse University, including Michael Howell as Lamar/Davinci, Nadine Malouf as Robin/Buckminster, Lauren Nolan as Gilmer/Gibbon, Frank Paparone as Jeffrey/Thomas Aquinas, Brendon Stimson as Herb/Nietzsche and Tinuke Oyefule as Peggy/Jean Paul. Godspell has scenic design by Adam Koch, lighting design by Josh Bradford, costume design by Leslie Bernstein and sound design by Jonathan Herter.

Godspell features a score by Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. Based on "The Gospel According to St. Matthew," the musical, press notes state, uses "improvisation and contemporary themes to illustrate the parables, [bringing] these lessons to life through the grand tradition of musical theatre." Song titles include "Day By Day," "Save The People," "Learn Your Lessons Well," "All Good Gifts," "Turn Back, O Man" and "By My Side."

After a five-year run Off-Broadway (the musical opened at the Cherry Lane Theatre May 13, 1971, and transferred to the Promenade in August of that year), Godspell opened at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre in June 1976. It eventually played both the Plymouth and Ambassador theatres before closing Sept. 4, 1977, after 527 regular performances. Godspell was conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak.

A Broadway revival of Godspell that was scheduled to open this fall has been postponed.

Tickets, priced $24-$48, are available by phoning (315) 443-3275, or by visiting SyracuseStage.

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