Margaret Hair: 'Godspell' boasts strong singing

Vocals highlight opening night of local theater performance


Past Event


  • Friday, October 19, 2007, 7 p.m.
  • Steamboat Mountain Theater, Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / $10 - $20


Of the two Jesus musicals - "Jesus Christ Superstar" being the other one, "Godspell" has more room for uplifting messages, creative staging and ad-libbed lines.

In the Steamboat Mountain Theater-produced "Godspell," that room for interpretation is handled well, with not-so-subtle jabs at city politicking thrown into its telling of Biblical parables.

A collection of stories about Jesus and his disciples, "Godspell" starts out loose and sunny, then takes a somewhat unsure turn for the narrative in the second act, where the songs are a little less happy and the staging is harder to come up with.

The cast members handle that shift extremely well, with standout vocal performances throughout the show.

The singing, particularly on solo numbers such as "Day By Day," is strong, and there's no question that the actors know their cast recordings well.

With a small group in a small theater, voices are left exposed, so solid singing from everyone is crucial. As a chorus, the cast functions well, locking in on the generally happy feeling these songs are supposed to leave for the audience.

Balancing those voices, especially when the cast is going to be moving about the audience, is crucial, too, and might be something to work out for future performances.

As Jesus, high school junior Ian Noble is appropriately joyful, confident, at times slightly clueless, and in the end, somber. He's joined by a cast of eight actors that boasts siren voices and uninhibited comic relief.

Because of its ensemble cast, "Godspell" as a show requires endurance from its actors.

That endurance is put to the test here, with a multi-leveled set that has its purpose for making the scenes relevant to Steamboat, but in the end is a little busy. However, the band, which miraculously doesn't cover up the mostly un-mic-ed actors, is cleverly hidden under one of the platforms.

"Godspell" runs through Saturday, with shows at 7 p.m. today and at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday. It's very good for community theater - ambitious and definitely worth seeing.


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 6 months ago

Right on, Margaret! I'm going to see this one Saturday at the matinee! Congrats, Mike and the rest of the cast!


waterguy 9 years, 6 months ago

Come on, Margaret Hair..."very good for community theater"???? This production is every bit professional level theater. We saw the performance last night and were blown away! This production is high energy from beginning to end, GREAT VOCALS & PERFORMANCES. There's not a weak link to be found. There were so many hilarious subtleties occurring on stage (and off) that we have to see it again to catch what we missed the first time. The comic timing was right on, and it was a joy to watch each actor step into their own solo spots to showcase their individual talents.

It's even better than many professional theater companies because of the Mountain Theater's small size. Too bad that theater is losing its lease by the end of May 2008 and Steamboat will be back to no venue for live theater.


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 6 months ago

Give her a break, waterguy. As with any review, not everyone will agree with it. Some people might not have actually liked the show. No, nobody has expressed to me that they didn't like it. From the people involved with this show, I'd be surprised to hear if someone actually didn't like it. (My mom will be the test this Saturday. She remembers the show we did in 1994 and loved that, but hated the movie. I loved the movie! We differ.)

It's just her opinion, and while it didn't come out gushingly sweet (like a marshmallow soaked in honey) it was honest, as it should be!


Tall_Poppy 9 years, 6 months ago

I saw the show last night and loved it. It IS community theatre AND it is very good. The assertion that it is very good FOR community theatre was unnecessary and adds nothing to an otherwise positive review. Come on Margaret! We all knew we weren't attending opening night on Broadway.


waterguy 9 years, 6 months ago

Matt - Wait until you see it. Margaret's review was just too reserved - the audience was clapping and joining in on songs within 15 minutes! We see shows in Denver (for 3 times the ticket price) that aren't as good. The songs, choreography and quirky/biting humor are the heart & soul of "Godspell". Director Mike Brumbaugh nailed it.


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 6 months ago

Hey, I agree! I perform up there also! I still understand that with what we have, no matter how much everyone enjoys it, some people have different tastes or expectations.

This is why I can't review shows: I nitpick about them too much. No matter how much I know I'll enjoy a show, I'm trained to learn to look at what went wrong moreso than right, in order to improve my personal performances. That has no bearing on whether or not other people liked or loved it.

I'm not disparaging this show. Far from it. I get the feeling that I'll have regrets not trying out for this show once I've seen it, just to have been a part of it. Still, if she built it up too much, you then get a crowd that's disappointed since they may not have the same perspective as you or me. What I got from this review is summed up all in the last sentence: "...ambitious and definitely worth seeing."


Michael Brumbaugh 9 years, 6 months ago

As the Artistic Director of the show, I wanted to take a moment and sincerely thank Margaret for her review of the production and to say I greatly appreciate her remarks. Critics of the show over the years often point to the loose narrative and lack of real dramatic "flow" in its plotline, what little there is. What's always intriguing to many critics is how the show can continue to be so popular, year after year.

After last night's performance and the audience's reaction, from the enthusiastic standing ovation to their visible and audible responses when they came out of the theatre, I saw again how this story can affect people. In some manner, it's like listening to a lengthy sermon on the values of respect, kindness, joy, non-materialism, and the beauty of community, without all the preachiness. The cast and audience are just having too much fun together! And, that's what makes the ending more meaningful and moving.

The only comment I would make to clarify Margaret's remarks is that the performers didn't learn their singing parts from the "cast recordings" as much as from the extensive rehearsals they had with our wonderfully competent and talented Music Director (and leader of the band), Christel Houston. The soundtracks to the show are always helpful for artistic ideas, but the powerful vocal performances here are due largely to her teaching and guidance.

And the level of talent in this cast, particularly since most of them are high schoolers (plus a 13 year old), truly amazes me, and continues to give me hope for the future of the performing arts here in Steamboat. That is, if the community is able to pull together and finally get serious about building a permanent performing arts venue, since we will be primarily theatre-less come next May. But, that's another issue...

Again, though, a huge BRAVO to the cast, crew and musicians for a magical and dazzling performance. Only three more to go!! PEACE...


willie samuelson 9 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Margaret for taking the time to review this musical. I think it is great that someone has taken the time to do this kind of reporting. I play bass in the band for this show and I am blown away by the profesionalism from these actors. I have to give a lot of credit to Mike for putting this together and to Crystal for getting the music together (I was called Monday) and the other musicians that I am working with, Neil and Bobby. Some of the music is very challenging, but very fun! Great show! Everyone shpuld really try to see it, just to see what the youth of Steamboat are capable of doing if nothing else.


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 6 months ago

After seeing the show on Saturday, I wanted to congratulate Mike Brumbaugh and everyone involved with this production of GODSPELL. It was a great performance!!!

I had trouble singing along at certain times. Some of the words to songs were updated over the years! (We can also blame parts of my memory, I'm sure!) Still, the message carried through strong! If you missed this show...well, you really missed the boat, so to say. This was an outstanding show and everyone onstage or behind the scenes should be proud!!!


Michael Brumbaugh 9 years, 6 months ago

Thank you, Matt, for the nice compliments! I'm very pleased and proud of the work all of us did on this show: the volunteers, actors, musicians, tech crew, Christel, the sponsors, and especially Kelly Anzalone, the owner of Steamboat Mountain Theater. Without Kelly's willingness to work long hours and his vision of keeping the performing arts alive in Steamboat, we would be hard pressed to have a space in which to perform.

Just a quick note of the productions coming up this winter at the theatre: "We're Not Clowns" holiday show (family friendly); "The Full Monty: the musical", end of March; "Ski Town Productions" in April; and finally, "Cabaret" in May. Shameless plug -- "The Full Monty" will be a community production, so folks who are interested (especially guys), start looking at your calendars NOW!

I would love for us (whoever might be interested here in town) to begin a serious dialogue regarding a permanent performing arts space. We are losing the Mountain Theater in May, no question about it, and we need to keep this momentum going. If you're interested, please contact Kelly Anzalone at the Mountain Theater (866-707-4648).



Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.